Many people think that arthritis is a medical condition that only older adults deal with. It is, unfortunately, found in children as well. Here are just some of the common signs that your child might be living with juvenile arthritis.
Joint stiffness in the morning
A child with juvenile arthritis could experience stiff joints as this is a very common symptom of arthritis, even in adults. You might notice your child holding their arm or leg in the same position for a long time, especially in the morning. A very young child might struggle to perform normal movements or activities they used to be able to do, like hold a spoon, due to stiffness and inflammation.
Unexplained weight loss
It's relatively normal for a child to be on the skinny side because many are picky when they eat, especially if they are active children. Some other children may overeat and gain weight. If your child seems fatigued, lacking an appetite, and losing weight, it could be a sign of juvenile arthritis.
Many forms of juvenile arthritis can cause rashes on the skin. Of course, your child's rash could be from poison ivy, eczema, or an allergic reaction. Rashes as a result of juvenile arthritis, though, look like pink bumps that develop over the knuckles, across the cheeks, or over the bridge of the nose. It can even appear on the trunk, the arms, and the legs of your child. It may even be a signal of serious pediatric rheumatic disease.
Issues with eyes
Your child might experience an eye infection like pink eye, and that's very common in young children. However, persistent red eyes, pain, or blurred vision might be a sign of something more serious. Some forms of juvenile arthritis cause serious eye-related complications like inflammatory conditions of the eye's middle layer (known as uveitis), or inflammation of the iris (known as iritis).
Children get sick, and high fevers can be common for your child, especially during flu season. A child with juvenile arthritis, though, may have frequent fevers accompanied by malaise or fatigue. These arthritis-related fevers don't seem to come alongside other symptoms of respiratory or stomach infections.
Unfortunately, juvenile arthritis affects more than 300,000 children in the United States. If you notice any of these signs in your child, it's time to take them to their doctor to talk about juvenile arthritis today.