Caregivers can help children learn self-care techniques that help limit the effects of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Techniques include:
Oct. 17, 2014
- Getting regular exercise. Exercise is important because it promotes both muscle strength and joint flexibility. Swimming is an excellent choice because it places minimal stress on joints.
- Applying cold or heat. Stiffness affects many children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, particularly in the morning. Although some children respond well to cold packs, most children prefer a hot pack or a hot bath or shower.
Eating well. Some children with arthritis have poor appetites. Others may gain excess weight due to medications or physical inactivity. A healthy diet can help maintain an appropriate body weight.
Adequate calcium in the diet is important because children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis are at risk of developing weak bones (osteoporosis) due to the disease, the use of corticosteroids, and decreased physical activity and weight bearing.
- Marzan KAB, et al. Early juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Rheumatic Disease Clinics of North America. 2012;38:355.
- Questions and answers about juvenile arthritis. National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Juv_Arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.
- Juvenile arthritis. Arthritis Foundation. http://www.arthritis.org/conditions-treatments/disease-center/juvenile--arthritis/. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Arthritis in children. American College of Rheumatology. http://www.rheumatology.org/practice/clinical/patients/diseases_and_conditions/juvenilearthritis.asp. Accessed Sept. 2, 2014.
- Sullivan KE. Inflammation in juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Pediatric Clinics of North America. 2005;52:335.
- Ferri FF. Ferri's Clinical Advisor 2015: 5 Books in 1. Philadelphia, Pa.: Mosby Elsevier; 2015. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.
- Firestein GS, et al. Kelley's Textbook of Rheumatology. 9th ed. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2013. https://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed Sept. 3, 2014.