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Rheumatism has always been associated with older people. But in reality children can also suffer from rheumatism, although it is more correct to speak of rheumatological diseases.
In reality, rheumatism does not exist, it is not a disease. It is as if we were to say that a child has "cardio" or "neuro". Children, like adults, have heart disease or neurological disease. In the same way, children have rheumatological diseases. Rheumatism does not exist. There are more than 200 rheumatological diseases. We tell you what they are the main types of rheumatological diseases in children and what are the most frequent symptoms.
From rheumatological diseases, some appear exclusively in childhood, and others appear in children and adults, and although they are similar, they are not the same.
The most common pediatric rheumatologic disease is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, also called by its initials: AIJ. The name explains the most important characteristics of the disease:
- 'Arthritis', means inflammation of a joint. Sometimes it is a painful inflammation, but in children, unlike what happens in adults, the inflammation is not usually accompanied by pain. So a child may have a swollen knee but not complain of pain. What does usually happen is that the child limps, especially in the morning or after a nap (that is, when he has been at rest and has to move the joint again).
- 'Idiopathic' means it is of unknown cause. No single cause for childhood arthritis has yet been identified. We currently believe that they are due to multiple factors: genetics, environmental factors, infectious, etc.
- 'Youth'. Finally, we speak of "Juvenile", because it occurs in children under 16 years of age. Arthritis that appears in people over 16 years of age are no longer considered within this group.
There are many types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis. Some they affect girls more than boys, others affect more young children and others adolescents, some may even be accompanied by fever.
In children, the onset of arthritis is also common in relation to infections (especially viral). The most typical is Transient Synovitis of the Hip, It appears in children who have recently had or have an infection (most often a cold). These children have a limp and difficulty walking. The swollen joint is the hip, which is why they complain of pain in the groin, thigh, or sometimes even the knee.
Therefore, rheumatism does not exist, what do exist are rheumatological diseases. And these can also appear in children, who should be seen by pediatric rheumatologists.
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