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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Apr 3, 2008
Statistics prove that nearly 300,000 children in America have a form of arthritis. The most common form is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, or JRA, and it affects nearly 50,000 children in the U.S.

The origin of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in the body is still a mystery, but many reasearchers believe is is an autoimmune disease. An autoimmune disease causes the body's immune system to attack itself, which produces to many cytokines. As a result, areas of the body become inflamed. Cytokines are chemical signals used for communication between cells, and are important for immune system responses.

Researchers believe the key to controlling, or slowing down the degeneration of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is to learn how to control cytokine production. Those involved in holistic healthcare practices believe the key to controlling cytokine production is connected to the diet.

Kids with arthritis seem to benefit most from fruits high in vitamin C. Colorful vegetables and fruits contain phytochemicals, which help with inflammation. Blackberries, strawberries, kiwis, raspberries, cantaloupe, apples, and mangos are all part of the inflammation fighters.

Vegetables with high amounts of vitamins A and C may also help fight inflammation in the body. Vegetables in this category include sweet potatoes, squash, spinach, kale, carrots, collard greens, brussel sprouts, cabbage, and broccoli.

Along with fruits and vegetables, it is wise to eat foods and supplements high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Certain types of fish, such as herring, mackerel, salmon, trout, and sardines, are included in this, but it's recommended to only consume 3 ounce portions for children younger than 16. Look for mercury-free fish whenever possible in order to avoid potential health problems.

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis usually shows up between ages 6 months and 16 years, and there are three major types. The majority of the time, the first signs of the disease are warm, reddened joints, and swelling.

1. Polyarticular arthritis -- Swelling or pain in 5 or more joints (hips, knees, ankles, feet and neck); low-grade fever; bumps or nodules on the body. 2. Pauciarticular arthritis -- Swelling or pain in 4 or fewer joints; inflammation of the iris. 3. Systemic arthritis -- Affects the entire body; may include high fevers; sudden onset then sudden disappearance of rash; enlarged spleen and lymph nodes; joint pain, swelling and stiffness.

An early and accurate diagnosis of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is needed in order to effectively manage the disease. It's important to educate yourself and other family members about JRA symptoms and characteristics if your child is diagnosed. It's possible for yoru child to maintain an active lifestyle, but if any of the previously stated symptoms arise, contact your doctor immediately. Your doctor will need to learn detailed medical history, take blood for testing, and do a physical examination before diagnosing Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis.
About the Author
Denise Smith posts information and resources on her website about Autism and Asperger's , and you can read more about Asperger Syndrome characteristics
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