Paediatric experts have said arthritis in children can be managed with the right nutrition and moderate exercises, aside from prescribed medications.
They noted that contrary to the belief that the medical condition affects only adults, it is not uncommon in children,
Speaking exclusively with Healthwise, a Consultant Paediatrician and Neonatologist at the Ladoke Akintola University of Technology, Ogbomoso, Oyo State, Dr. Bukola Adetutu, described arthritis as an inflammation or degeneration of the joints.
She noted that changes to the affected joint due to the medical condition can cause severe pains when moved.
Adetutu said: “Arthritis is not very common in children but it does occur. The common type of arthritis seen in children, particularly in this tropic, is septic arthritis caused by infection, but it can be treated over a period of weeks with intravenous antibiotics.
“However, globally, the type of arthritis which children are more prone to and similar to the one seen in adults is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis or Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis. The cause is generally unknown but has been linked to an autoimmune disorder, a situation where the immune system attacks the tissue around the joints.
“Although there is no cure for juvenile arthritis, some children can achieve permanent remission, which means the disease is no longer active. However, the physical damage to the joint will remain”.
On whether nutrition and physical exercises could be of help, the consultant paediatrician said, “Well not categorically, but they can improve the child’s child and reduce the weight being exerted on the joint”.
Adetutu said arthritis is not an ailment that can be inherited from parents, but that some of the immune dynamics involved can be inherited.
She expressed a ray of hope for children with arthritis, adding, “Arthritis-stricken children can live normal lives depending on the severity. Even the severe ones can be managed with nutrition, exercise, pain medications, walking and movement aids, as well as other devices”.
Another Consultant Paediatrician, Dr. Franklin Emerenini said the challenge with arthritis is that it comes with a reduced range of movement.
He said, “It occurs in children of all ages. Causes of arthritis in children are many, ranging from infection, immunology disease, trauma, and some are of unknown cause.
“Exercise can minimize the debilitating effect of arthritis. Yes, arthritis can be permanently cured depending on the cause. Arthritis in children is different from the general view of the arthritis community. So, the quality of life will depend on the cause and other related disease entities.”
According to a study published by the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention, childhood arthritis can cause permanent physical damage to joints.
It noted that the damage can make it hard for the child to carry out daily physical activities like walking or dressing and can result in disability.
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