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Arthritis in Youngsters

It is a common misconception that arthritis only affects older people. The fact is that it can strike at any age. It is known to affect around 20,000 children worldwide. According to doctors at the North Hampshire Hospital, signs of arthritis in children are often overlooked. This can be attributed to insufficient training in rheumatic diseases. In their five years of education, most medical students undergo a mere two week training period in rheumatology. These diseases have been a neglected specialty for decades.

According to Peter Prouse, a rheumatologist at North Hampshire Hospital, it is very important to identify the condition at the earliest in children. He states that a majority of the children disabled by the disease are the ones who are misdiagnosed in the first five years. This results in damage to the soft tissues around joints and the joints itself. They eventually cannot move either the knee or hip resulting in the wasting of muscles. This inhibits normal mobility.

Young arthritis patients are often treated with anti-inflammatory steroids. They suppress the immune system, which in cases of rheumatoid arthritis attacks the patient's own body. But these have side effects.

More than 200 types of arthritis have been identified. While the more severe forms are crippling, the milder ones often go unnoticed. The most commonly occurring form of joint inflammation is osteoarthritis, which is caused by wear and tear of cartilage. Rheumatoid arthritis is the second most common form. It is also known to affect young adults. It affects three times the number of women as men.

New innovations in arthritis treatment are giving patients considerable respite. Many of the new drugs work by blocking enzymes associated with joint inflammation. Drugs like Provailen are recommended as they use natural ingredients to give relief from pain and inflammation. Provailen is a natural anti-inflammatory. It also helps boost the immune system.  

Toni Neufville, an arthritis patient, has had joint problems from the time she was a toddler. Doctors were unable to find a cause for this. The pain and stiffness only increased with the passing years. By the age of 14, Toni had to depend on a wheelchair for mobility. She later approached a psychologist for pain management. This helped her get out of the wheelchair. Toni finds techniques like breath control, counting and focusing attention on something other than the pain very helpful.

Even though Toni successfully completed her education, the disease does affect her work. She states that she cannot write for long and gets tired easily. She suffers from arthritis in all her joints, particularly in knees, feet, wrists, hands and ankles. She has to regularly undergo physio therapy sessions that are often painful. The treatment offered by doctors at Great Ormond Street Hospital has proven effective for Toni. She also appreciates the weekend courses that teach children with such conditions to cope with daily tasks and help them participate in activities like riding.


 

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