Children who suffer from arthritis face increased risk of fractures in later life, particularly during adolescence, a study reveals.
Jon M. Burnham of The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia and other researchers analysed the medical records of 1,959 patients in Britain who had first experienced arthritis between ages one and 19.
The researchers compared those patients to a larger control group of 207,000 patients in a primary care database.
The population-based study, which examined the risk of fractures in childhood arthritis patients, found that childhood arthritis increases the risk of fractures, reported the science portal EurekAlert.
Arthritis is the inflammation of the body's joints, causing pain, swelling, and difficulty in body movement. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, which is also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), is the most common pediatric rheumatic disease, affecting approximately one in 1,000 US children.
It was already known that low bone mass occurs in patients with JIA, because of risk factors such as chronic inflammation, delayed puberty, malnutrition, weakness, inactivity and treatment with steroid medications.
The study findings should encourage physicians caring for children with arthritis to more closely monitor their patients and to focus on nutritional steps that promote bone health, such as increasing regular intake of calcium and vitamin D, researchers said.