Believe it or not you can in fact be born with rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where in the U.S approximately 300,000 babies a year are diagnosed with some form of arthritis with RA being the most common.
Known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or JRA, this is often detected when your toddler or young child will complain of stiffness, joint pain and swelling.
The cause is still not fully understood. Genetic traits may play a part but why your own body mistakenly attacks its healthy cells at such a young age - known as auto-immune disorder - causing the joints to swell is unclear, however what triggers this action is thought to stem from an environmental toxin.
Like many forms of JRA, it can either go undetected for years or the symptoms will become noticeable shortly after birth.
As mentioned, swelling, joint pain and stiffness, especially before your child gets up in the morning can be worse before the day pans out and occasionally the lymph nodes will swell up, where a fever might develop along with a rash.
Internal organs can also become affected but this is rare.
If you feel your child has some form of arthritis or you are simply concerned over the joint pain they're experiencing, visit a pediatric rheumatologist.
They will carry out the standard tests such as a blood test, a physical, ask about the symptoms and maybe take some xrays.
This diagnosis won't confirm JRA but once all alternative ailments have been ruled out and if the symptoms still persist after 6 weeks, then JRA is often confirmed.
There are 3 types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.
1. Systemic JRA
This is the least likely form of JRA and includes all the symptoms listed above and it also affects the internal organs.
This is the most serious form of JRA and accounts for 20% of all JRA cases. It also increases your childs chances of JRA not disappearing but developing into RA in their teens and twenties.
2. Pauciarticular JRA
This affects roughly 50% of JRA cases where most children grow out of it, but you have to be careful with one of the symptoms which is swelling of the eyes that can lead to a loss of vision down the years, so be sure to consult an ophthalmologist.
It will only affect a few joints, those being the major ones like the arm and knee joint.
3. Polyarticular JRA
This is quite serious as 30% of polyarticular sufferers are unable to shake off this form of JRA in childhood.
It frequently affects a handful of both big and small joints and is predictable in its nature by targeting the same joints on each side of the body.
Anemia is also a risk so plenty of physical therapy is advised to keep the child active and fit.
Fortunately modern medicine and natural supplements today will help prevent JRA from flaring up, where a worst case scenario would affect the child's bone development.
This quite severe case though is now treated through physical therapy and medication, restricting any potential growth defects.
However, what's disturbing in the West is that like adults who are prescribed NSAIDs, so are children.
This is worrying because NSAIDs can deliver dangerous side effects and can also affect the health of the liver, kidney and heart.
VIOXX and Celebrex were recently withdrawn from the market for posing exactly these dangers, so if you want to avoid these pharmaceutical anti-inflammatory supplements, and not place your child in harms way, the following natural anti-inflammatory ingredients will help reduce the swelling safely, numb the pain and increase bone density.
- Glucosamine Complex
- Chondroitin Sulfate
- Magnezium and Calcium Suplements
- Vitamin C and D
- Tongkat Ali
- White Willow Bark