Skip to main content

Juvenile arthritis can strike at any age

Aug 01, 2016 12:23PM ● Published by Today's Family

People often believe that arthritis is a condition that only affects seniors. However, the truth is that like diabetes it can be diagnosed in people under 50, even children. Particularly troublesome is rheumatoid arthritis which can strike at any age. “Rheumatoid arthritis is an aggressive, destructive disease that attacks your joints and tissues like they are foreign bodies and it comes with pain, stiffness and other symptoms that bring down your quality of life,” said Dr. Scott Burg, department of rheumatologic and immunologic disease at the Cleveland Clinic.

The bright side of the story is that rheumatoid arthritis is highly treatable.

The most prevalent form of arthritis, osteoarthritis, often comes along with aging but that is not the case with rheumatoid arthritis. “Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder and you do not get it from regular wear and tear on your body; your body’s attack on itself results in inflammation which causes pain, stiffness, swelling and other symptoms that may affect other organs,” said Burg.

There is reason to be hopeful. Since the signs are easy to identify, you can see a doctor early and have an examination and x-rays to confirm the diagnosis. “Telltale signs are if your pain is symmetrical meaning in both shoulders, both elbows or both wrists; and if your stiffness lasts longer than 30 minutes and the morning,” said Dr. Burg.

Juvenile arthritis is the umbrella term that refers to the numerous autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can occur in kids under age 16. While it usually affects joints, the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract can be affected as well. To be diagnosed, a child simply needs to have swelling in one or more joints for at least six weeks. The cause remains unidentified and the Arthritis Foundation said that there is no evidence to suggest that toxins, foods or allergies cause children to develop the disease. Some research hints at a genetic predisposition.

The key is to stick to your child’s regular routine as much as possible. You will find that arthritis affects the entire family and you should empathize with your child’s emotions as he navigates the diagnosis with you.

The pediatrician will likely refer you to a pediatric rheumatologist who will ask questions about your child’s health history to find out how long the symptoms have been present. There is no blood test for arthritis, only a physical exam and medical history to provide insight. Imaging tests may be done to rule out other possible causes for symptoms and blood work may help rule out underlying infection.

Though there is no cure, there is a lot that can be offered. The Arthritis Foundation said that most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating. If you reach out, you will find that there are a lot of resources in the community to guide you as well.

Research has led to a lot of remedies. “We probably can do more for our patients with rheumatoid than we can for every other type of arthritis,” said Dr. Burg. Many medications are available. “Methotrexate works by counteracting the immune system’s attack on your joints; TNF inhibitors block the compound that does damage; and corticosteroid injections ease symptoms in a lot of patients,” said Burg. You can expect the doctor to monitor you closely. “The advances of recent years amaze me and we can put the disease into remission in most patients and sometimes even reverse the damage that has already been done,” said Dr. Burg.

Tiny modifications can make daily living with arthritis easier for all ages. Start with your kitchen. “Pots and pans with soft grips and longer handles may ease the process and if you have trouble handling silverware, adaptive utensils with thicker handles make it easier to enjoy your home-cooked meals,” said Dr. Burg. Elevating your seat to add height can be helpful. Then look at your bathroom. “Electric toothbrushes have fatter, easier-to-grip handles than traditional ones and also do much of the brushing work for you,” said Dr. Burg. For the shower, liquid soap is easier to use than bars and you can even add an automatic dispenser to the shower.

There is a Walk to Cure Arthritis at the Cleveland Metroparks Zoo on May 9, 2015 at 9 a.m. This signature event entails a 3-mile and 1-mile course with arthritis information and activities for the family. Money raised will go toward helping people gain access to the critical medications necessary to live full, healthy lives and to fund research that provides better treatments and promises a cure down the road. This is a great time to get involved and learn more about this major health issue.

For more information about the Walk to Cure Arthritis, call 216.285.2829 or email Courtney Durbin at [email protected]

Health Health Cleveland Clinic

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Pumpkin pies will be awarded to the top finisher of each age group and the top overall 3 finisher...


  • Thanksgiving Buffet

    11/23/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Featuring their chef's herb-crusted prime rib, butternut squash bisque, brown butter mashed potat...


  • Thanksgiving Food & Fellowship

    11/23/2017
    12:00PM — 03:00PM

    The Lake County YMCA will be hosting its annual free community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, N...


  • Black Friday Membership Event

    11/24/2017
    09:00AM

    You're already spending the money, so why not spend it wisely?! Come in Black Friday and join ...


  • Turkey Trottin’ Scavenger Hunt

    11/25/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Pay attention to this clue: On a rhyming scavenger hunt you will go to uncover turkey facts you d...


It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

It looks like we don't have any events for this date. You can always add an event.

  • Pumpkin pies will be awarded to the top finisher of each age group and the top overall 3 finisher...


  • Thanksgiving Buffet

    11/23/2017
    11:00AM — 03:00PM

    Featuring their chef's herb-crusted prime rib, butternut squash bisque, brown butter mashed potat...


  • Thanksgiving Food & Fellowship

    11/23/2017
    12:00PM — 03:00PM

    The Lake County YMCA will be hosting its annual free community Thanksgiving Dinner on Thursday, N...


  • Black Friday Membership Event

    11/24/2017
    09:00AM

    You're already spending the money, so why not spend it wisely?! Come in Black Friday and join ...


  • Turkey Trottin’ Scavenger Hunt

    11/25/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Pay attention to this clue: On a rhyming scavenger hunt you will go to uncover turkey facts you d...


  • 32nd annual Beary Merry Handmade Christmas Market

    11/29/2017
    11:00AM — 09:00PM

    The show will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Affiliate. The promise of Susan G. K...


  • 32nd annual Beary Merry Handmade Christmas Market

    11/30/2017
    11:00AM — 09:00PM

    The show will benefit Susan G. Komen for the Cure Northeast Affiliate. The promise of Susan G. K...


  • Home for The Holidays

    11/30/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    The perfect start to this year’s holiday season can be found at the Lake County History Center in...


  • Winter Holiday Sale & Open House

    12/01/2017
    10:00AM — 08:00PM

    Still have holiday shopping to do? Want to know what Valley Art Center is all about? Come to our ...


  • Home for The Holidays

    12/01/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    The perfect start to this year’s holiday season can be found at the Lake County History Center in...


  • Home for The Holidays

    12/02/2017
    11:00AM — 04:00PM

    The perfect start to this year’s holiday season can be found at the Lake County History Center in...


  • Holiday CircleFest

    12/02/2017
    12:00PM — 05:00PM

    As the weather turns cool and the snow begins to fall, University Circle transforms into the ulti...


  • Sensitive Santa

    12/03/2017
    08:30AM — 10:30AM

    Sensitive Santa is a private event designed for children and young adults with special needs and ...


  • Wildwood Holiday Craft Show

    12/03/2017
    10:00AM — 04:00PM

    Many wonderful holiday items for sale from over 25 vendors including wreaths and swags, gingerbre...


  • Holiday Boutique

    12/03/2017
    10:00AM — 03:00PM

    Kick off your holiday shopping at the Little Italy Art Walk and stroll into the Alta House to fin...


  • Holiday CircleFest

    12/03/2017
    01:00PM — 07:00PM

    As the weather turns cool and the snow begins to fall, University Circle transforms into the ulti...


  • Holiday Tour of Homes

    12/03/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Six historic locations will be open and on display by the Downtown Painesville Organization to ce...


  • Deck The House

    12/05/2017
    05:30PM — 09:30PM

    Join in for the best holiday party in town while also raising money to help local children in cri...


  • Santa's Wild Workshop in the Woods

    12/06/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Children ages 3–12 can catch the Wildwood Express to Santa’s Magical Workshop at the City of Ment...


  • Santa's Wild Workshop in the Woods

    12/08/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Children ages 3–12 can catch the Wildwood Express to Santa’s Magical Workshop at the City of Ment...


  • Christmas Tea at the History Center

    12/09/2017
    01:00PM — 04:00PM

    Reservations are now being taken for the “A Little Bit of Magic Christmas Tea” at the Lake County...


  • Santa's Wild Workshop in the Woods

    12/09/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    Children with special needs, ages 3–12, can catch the Wildwood Express to Santa’s Magical Worksho...


  • Live Nativity

    12/09/2017
    04:30PM — 06:30PM

    The community is invited to join St. Gabriel’s Live Nativity on December 9 & 10. Live animals and...


  • Santa's Wild Workshop in the Woods

    12/09/2017
    06:00PM — 08:00PM

    Children ages 3–12 can catch the Wildwood Express to Santa’s Magical Workshop at the City of Ment...


  • Live Nativity

    12/10/2017
    07:00AM — 02:00PM

    The community is invited to join St. Gabriel’s Live Nativity on December 9 & 10. Live animals and...


  • Christmas Train and Toy Show

    12/10/2017
    10:00AM — 03:30PM

    Come to the Christmas Train and Toy Show and see over 200 dealers with model trains of all gauges...


  • Breakfast with Santa

    12/10/2017
    10:00AM — 12:00PM

    Bring the kiddies and the entire family to enjoy a delicious breakfast and opportunity to let San...


  • Gingerbread House Decorating

    12/10/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    Build your very own Gingerbread House for the holidays. They provide all the "building" materials...


  • Lunch with Santa

    12/10/2017
    02:00PM — 04:00PM

    Can't make their Breakfast With Santa event? Then your family is invited your family to join in f...


  • Live Nativity

    12/10/2017
    04:00PM — 07:00PM

    The community is invited to join St. Gabriel’s Live Nativity on December 9 & 10. Live animals and...