Psoriatic arthritis is a form of inflammatory arthritis associated with psoriasis, characterised by joint inflammation, rashes and pitted fingernails.
Psoriatic arthritis is similar to rheumatoid arthritis in symptoms, however the former tends to affect fewer joints than rheumatoid arthritis and does not produce the typical rheumatoid arthritis antibodies. The arthritis form associated with psoriatic arthritis comes in five forms; differ by the joints involved, ranging from only affecting the hands or spine areas to a severe deforming type called arthritis mutilans. Children with psoriatic symptoms are classified as having different types of juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
The symptoms of psoriatic arthritis in children are:
Children with psoriatic arthritis complain of pain in joints or muscles, particularly after strenuous activity. Moreover, they may experience pain in several body parts (knees, feet, hands, neck and jaw joints) right after they wake up in the morning or after a nap. The discomforting pain lessens when they start moving.
Stiffness of joints, particularly in the morning, is another common symptom in children with psoriatic arthritis. If a child is very young, he/she may struggle with activities like holding a spoon or objects. He/she may hold his arm or leg in the same position, or limp.
There could be an inflammation which is evident as swelling or redness on the skin around painful joints. They may feel warmth in their joints. The swelling on or around the joints may last for several days.
Children may have frequent fevers and it is often accompanied by malaise or fatigue. They may get fever suddenly and then recover from it in a short time. The fever in children with psoriatic arthritis is different than fever that accompanies respiratory or stomach infections.
The disease can cause rashes on the skin of affected children. They may get rashes that are like poison ivy to eczema or even an allergic reaction to a drug. Unlike the general skin rash, these may not be itchy and may persist for days or weeks.
Active children, when affected by psoriatic arthritis, may lose appetite and seem fatigued. They may refuse the food offered or say that they are not hungry. In some cases, children may overeat and gain weight.
Persistent eye redness, pain, blurred vision and eye infections like conjunctivitis (pinkeye) are relatively common in children with juvenile arthritis. Uveitis, inflammation within the eye, is one of the common complications of the disease in children. Symptoms of uveitis may not show up but it can damage a child’s vision. It’s important that children with psoriatic arthritis have regular eye checks.
Many of the aforementioned symptoms of juvenile arthritis can be easily confused with other childhood diseases. Therefore, it is important for parents to get their kids checked with proper examination and diagnosis. Check-up by a physician can determine the reason for symptoms experienced, ruling out other medical conditions. Thereafter, treatment that involves treating both the skin condition and the joint inflammation can be done to ease symptoms and allow your child resume his/her everyday activities.
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