Idiopathic means of an unknown origin.
Idiopathic Arthritis is better known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis or JIA. This is the most common type of arthritis that affects kids. It was known as Rheumatoid Arthritis but, the name was changed recently to reflect between childhood and adult arthritis. JIA affects 1 in 1,000 kids. Its onset is usually before a child is 16. The cause of JIA is unknown.
JIA is a chronic disease that affects any joint throughout the body. The immune system mistakenly targets the synovium, (the tissue that lines the inside of our joints). This synovium will respond by making excess fluid which leads to swelling, pain, and stiffness. The synovium and inflammation spreads to the surrounding tissue, which eventually damages the cartilage and bone. Other areas like the eyes can be affected.
There are 6 subtypes of JIA, which is based on how many joints are involved and symptoms.
Systemic Arthritis, Oligoarthritis, Polyarthritis, Posoriatic, Undifferentiated, and Enthesitis-related arthritis.
My daughter falls under the subtype Oligoarthritis now. Which subtypes can change with time with some kids. Oligoarthritis is more common in girls than boys. It affects fewer than 5 joints the first 6 months of the disease. Usually, the common areas affected are the knees, ankles, wrist joints, elbows, and not limited to those areas. It can also cause inflammation to the eyes. The good news is that half the children will outgrow this arthritis by adulthood. Usually, it’s the children who are diagnosed before they are 7 may outgrow it. Older children they have found usually go into adulthood. My daughter falls into the later category. For my daughter it effects her knees, ankles, wrist,elbows, fingers, and sometimes her shoulders and neck.
Symptoms of JIA may include:
Pain and swelling along with tenderness in the joints
Joints feel warm
Eye pain, eye redness, and blurred vision
JIA it is treated with exercise through physical and occupational therpy. Also it is treated with medication to help relieve the pain and reduce swelling.
JIA looks different for everyone. Some have long term complications with vision, permanent damage to the joints, loss of function to several areas, and damage to the heart and lungs due to inflammation.
Arthritis is not fun whether a child or an adult. There is still much research to learn about this ugly disease.
Other bloggers have joined in Blogging through the Alphabet. Annette and Amanda are hosting this on their blogs. Stop by and see what they are blogging about with the letter I.