Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Day is celebrated on February 2 every year. This is an insidious disease that can occur in any child under 16 years of age and threatens with complications such as eye damage and amyloidosis of internal organs. This was told to Izvestiya by an allergist-immunologist of the Department of Clinical Immunology and Rheumatology of the RCCH RNIMU named after I.I. N.I. Pirogov of the Ministry of Health of Russia Ekaterina Lagutina.
She clarified that rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic autoinflammatory joint disease lasting more than six weeks that develops in children under the age of 16 years. According to the new nomenclature, the disease is called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).
“This disease is represented by two main forms. The first is articular, when the joints or, less commonly, the eyes are affected. The second is systemic, when joints, hematopoiesis, internal organs, skin are affected as a result of an active auto-inflammatory process, a persistent increase in body temperature up to 38–40 degrees is often noted, ”the doctor said.
According to Lagutina, at the moment it is not known what causes the development of JIA. The disease can occur after a viral infection, prolonged exposure to adverse conditions (hypothermia, insolation), trauma, severe stress.
With this form of arthritis, eye damage, the so-called uveitis, is often noted. In systemic forms, the most formidable complication, if there is no proper treatment for a long time, is the development of amyloidosis of internal organs, primarily the kidneys.
The doctor also described the process that occurs in the body in the presence of a disease. So, with JIA, there is a violation of the immune response at the level of the articular membranes or the body as a whole. Normally, in response to the appearance of a “stranger” antigen in the body, a complex interaction of cells of innate and adaptive immunity occurs. Thus, the antigen is destroyed.
“At the same time, it should be remembered that the immune response must be well regulated and be able to stop in time, otherwise it will begin to damage its own tissues. In JIA, immune cells are activated uncontrollably, producing factors that cause damage to the body’s own tissues. It, in turn, causes the release of decay products that are perceived by the immune system as “wrong”, because of this, inflammation is maintained and healthy tissues suffer,” the specialist explained.
The doctor noted that currently there are many drugs that are used in the treatment of JIA. At the same time, specific prevention of the disease has not been developed, since the main “culprit” that triggers the pathological process has not been fully established.
“In order to minimize the risk of developing autoimmune and autoinflammatory diseases, it is advisable to create a favorable psychological climate, a child’s daily routine, including mandatory walks, hardening, physical education, limiting the use of gadgets, avoiding injuries, and preventing infectious diseases,” summed up Lagutina.
On January 24, infectious disease doctor Andrey Pozdnyakov warned that influenza and SARS in children aged 3-6 years could be accompanied by higher fever and vomiting. In addition, they often develop bronchitis and pneumonia more quickly.