I was approached by Arthritis Research UK to see if I would mind writing a blog post to help raise awareness about Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA, or arthritis in childhood). I agreed mainly due to the very simple fact that my grandmother and other family members suffered quite badly from rheumatoid arthritis and I had (somewhat naively, perhaps) associated the condition with the elderly.
Of course it is not quite as simple as that - juvenile arthritis is the not same as rheumatoid arthritis, and having the former does not necessarily mean you will get the latter. There is also not one single type, but it appears that the most common type is most prevalent in young girls. Thankfully most children will grow out of the condition, but in a small number pain and discomfort will be severe. The most common symptoms include:
- pain and swelling of joints
- morning stiffness
- in very young children, it could cause difficulty in learning to walk.
-of course as any parent knows, as very young child will not necessarily be able to tell a parent where the pain is coming from, so they might be generally moody and difficult.
however, rarer types might also include symptoms more usually associated with other illnesses (fevers, rashes etc).
If you think your child might be affected, your first step should of course be to contact your GP, but you can also find out more information by checking out the Arthritis Research UK website.