A Consultant Rheumatologist, Dr. Hakeem Olaosebikan has advised parents to pay attention to any swelling, stiffness, and pain in the joints of their children,noting that it could be signs of arthritis.
The rheumatologist explained that arthritis is not a disease of only the elderly, but can affect a person of any age including children.
Arthritis in children is a disease known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis and this condition usually begins before the teenager’ 16th birthday.
Olaosebikan, who works with Lagos State University Teaching Hospital explained that arthritis in children is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
“This is cause due to an overactive immune system which usually begins before the 16th birthday, It can affect eyes and internal organs.”
He further explained that the symptoms of such arthritis include pain, swelling, and stiffness. He urged parents not to ignore such signs in their children as they could become advanced and lead to joint deformity. “Do not wait for joint deformity to occur as it indicates advanced arthritis.”
The US Centre for Disease Control explained that there is no known cause for this form of arthritis but noted that childhood arthritis can cause permanent physical damage to joints.
“This damage can make it hard for the child to do everyday things like walking or dressing and may result in disability.”
Although there is no cure, some children with arthritis achieve permanent remission, which means the disease is no longer active. Any physical damage to the joint will remain, the US CDC said.
Mayo Clinic – a medical center focused on integrated health care, education, and research, further stated that if juvenile arthritis is left untreated, some of the complications involved are, “eye problems. If this condition is left untreated, it may result in cataracts, glaucoma, and even blindness. Eye inflammation frequently occurs without symptoms and growth problems.
“Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can interfere with your child’s growth and bone development. Some medications used for treatment, mainly corticosteroids, also can inhibit growth,” Mayo Clinic said.