Juvenile Arthritis: The Patient Profile.

As you may now know, due to the articles that gracefully decorate the AUC Frontline website, July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. 

Juvenile Arthritis (JA) is an autoimmune disease present in pediatric patients. Environmental and genetic factors, as well as the child’s immune system, are likely to play a role in the development of the disease. 

As part of creating awareness, below outlines the profile of a patient with juvenile arthritis based on up-to-date information about the disease. (Per HIPAA regulations, all of the patient information below is fictional and is not intended to portray any real person’s medical information.)

So, how does the profile of a patient suffering from Juvenile Arthritis look? 

Name: Jane Doe 

Age: 16 or younger 

Gender: Female – some forms of juvenile idiopathic arthritis are more common in girls. 

Reason to visit a doctor: The child has joint pain or swelling for more than a week. May be accompanied by fever or other symptoms such as: 

  • Stiffness and clumsiness 
  • Swollen lymph nodes  
  • Rash 
  • Decreased appetite, poor weight gain, and slow growth 
  • Eye inflammation 

Diagnosis: The pediatrician may ask for family history, perform a physical exam, and give diagnosis; or refer the patient to a rheumatologist. There is no single test for JA diagnosis. Proper tests, such as the following, would be performed to give a diagnosis: 

  • Antinuclear antibody (ANA)  
  • Rheumatoid factor (RF)  
  • Anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP)  
  • Uric acid  
  • HLA tissue typing  
  • Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR)  
  • C-reactive protein (CRP)  
  • Lyme serology  
  • X-Ray
  • CT-Scan 
  • Bone Scan 
  • Among other tests 

Treatment: There is no cure, but early diagnosis and treatment with proper medications and lifestyle changes are crucial for remission. 

Medications

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory medicines (NSAIDs) 
  • Disease-modifying antirheumatic medicines (DMARDs) 
  • Corticosteroid medicines 
  • Medicines to reduce inflammation

Lifestyle improvements: 

  • Physical therapy 
  • Occupational therapy 
  • Nutrition counseling 
  • Regular exercise  
  • Eye exams to check for inflammation 

Sources

Zelman, D. (2019, January 30). Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) Basics: RA In Children. Retrieved July 8, 2020, from https://www.webmd.com/rheumatoid-arthritis/understanding-juvenile-rheumatoid-arthritis-basics

Juvenile Arthritis (JA). Arthritis Foundation. Retrieved July 8, 2020, from https://www.arthritis.org/diseases/juvenile-arthritis

Juvenile Arthritis: Symptoms & Causes: Boston Children’s Hospital. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from http://www.childrenshospital.org/conditions-and-treatments/conditions/j/juvenile-arthritis/symptoms-and-causes

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Stanford Children’s Health. (n.d.). Retrieved July 13, 2020, from https://www.stanfordchildrens.org/en/topic/default?id=juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-90-P01722

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis. (2017, December 20). Retrieved July 15, 2020, from https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis/symptoms-causes/syc-20374082

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