MountainView Hospital - August 14, 2018

Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term for a group of diseases that affect children. Although arthritis can have a major impact on a child’s quality of life, early and aggressive treatment can help. Raising a child with a chronic disease isn’t easy, but the doctors and nurses at MountainView Hospital are here to support you in every possible way.

Types of juvenile arthritis

The three primary types of juvenile arthritis are oligoarticular, polyarticular and systemic.

According to the American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons, roughly 50 percent of the patients with juvenile arthritis have oligoarticular arthritis. It’s most likely to affect girls under the age of eight. This type of juvenile arthritis only affects a few joints, often a knee or ankle

Polyarticular arthritis affects five or more joints, particularly the smaller joints like those in the hands and feet. Typically, it affects joints on both sides of the body.

Systemic arthritis is less common, but potentially more severe. It causes at least one joint to become painful, swollen and limited in movement. Additionally, systemic arthritis can cause rash and inflammation of the:

  • Heart
  • Liver
  • Lymph nodes
  • Spleen

Children with systemic arthritis may be diagnosed after they’ve experienced a fever of 102 degrees or higher for at least two weeks.

Treatments for juvenile arthritis

Proper treatment is essential for reducing the risk that juvenile arthritis will continue into adulthood or cause additional health complications. Patients may need to take medications for several years, which may include these:

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs
  • Biologic agents
  • Corticosteroids

Corticosteroids are very potent drugs that can cause serious side effects when used improperly or for too long. They can interfere with a child’s growth, bone development and immune function. On a short-term, limited basis, however, corticosteroids can effectively treat severe arthritis.

Maintaining mobility is an important part of a child’s treatment plan. Physical therapists can design an appropriate plan that features a healthy balance of activity and rest, with exercises designed to support range of motion, flexibility and strength. 

MountainView Hospital is committed to our longstanding tradition of putting patients and their families first because the health of our community genuinely matters to us. Our hospital in Las Vegas looks forward to helping your family reach health goals. Call a registered nurse at (702) 962-5021 any time of the day or night.