What are paediatric rheumatic diseases?

Paediatric rheumatic diseases is an umbrella term encompassing the spectrum of musculoskeletal and connective tissue disorders which begin during childhood (under the age of 16 to 18 years).

Although paediatric rheumatic diseases share many common symptoms, such as pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth, they are distinct and each have their own sets of signs and symptoms. While many pediatric rheumatic diseases are associated with the joints, other organs and parts of the body can be affected, including the eyes, skin, muscles and gastrointestinal tract.

Some examples of paediatric rheumatic diseases include:

  • Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which is considered the most common form of arthritis. 
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM), which is an autoimmune disease which causes muscle weakness and skin rashes.
  • Juvenile systemic lupus erythematosus (jSLE), which is an autoimmune condition which can affect the skin, joints, blood, kidneys and central nervous system (in addition to other parts of the body).
  • Juvenile scleroderma, which describes a group of conditions that causes the skin to tighten and harden.
  • Kawasaki disease, which is a condition which causes inflammation in the blood vessels, which can lead to heart complications. 
  • Fibromyalgia, which is a long-term condition charactised by pain, fatigue, stiffness and aching, disrupted sleep and cognitive problems, among many other symptoms.

Other examples of paediatric rheumatic diseases include: Vasculitis, Behcet’s disease, Henoch-Schoenlein purpura, Rheumatic fever, Post-streptococcal reactive arthritis, Lyme arthritis, Ehlers-Danlos syndromes and autoinflammatory diseases.

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