Oligoarthritis - Diagnosis

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Diagnosis of Oligoarthritis

Diagnosis plays a very important role in the treatment as it can ensure the best possible outcome. Any child with symptoms of joint pain should be taken seriously and attended by a specialized physician (pediatric rheumatologist). Any delay in the diagnosis can result in irreversible damage to joints, eyes or other organs. It is very important to diagnose the type of arthritis the child is suffering from. If the problem is perceived to be mild, it may delay institution of proper available treatment. Diagnosis of a mild form as severe can lead to an overdose of drugs and result in side effects.

The ultimate goal of the treatment should be to limit the joint damage to the maximum possible extent. This is usually done using administration of drugs that suppress the immune system (immunosuppressant). This should however not suppress the immune system so much that the child is prone to developing infections very easily.

Several factors play a crucial role in the diagnosis. A few of the important aspects are given below:

  • Medical History: Parents usually recall that their child looked funny during his first walk in the morning, which gets better after sometime (30 to 40 minutes). They usually attribute this to perhaps a wrong posture during sleep.
  • Physical Examination
  • Blood tests: It can identify the presence of ‘anti-nuclear antibodies’. Children with juvenile arthritis are unlikely to have rheumatoid factor in their blood. Blood tests have a limited role in the diagnosis.
  • X-rays of the joints and limbs.
  • Eye examination for early detection of eye disease

Note: It is very important for parents to observe their child’s symptoms closely to avoid any complications. Infections and fever should raise concern and should be reported to the attending physician without any delay. Under some circumstances such as chicken pox, the usual arthritis medicines have to be stopped on a temporary basis until the condition improves.

Click here to Read More About: Anti-Nuclear Antibody Test.

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Just found information on this subject on another site: - Via Lana, Patient Advocate at ArthritisConnect: "Arthritis literally means inflammation of one or more joints. Pauciarticular juvenile arthritis works somewhat in that manner. Pauciarticular means "few joints." This means that the pauciarticular type of juvenile arthritis involves only a few joints. About half of children with juvenile arthritis have the pauciarticular type. For half of the children with pauciarticular juvenile arthritis, only one joint will be involved, usually a knee or ankle. This is called monoarticular juvenile arthritis. These patients usually have a very mild arthritis and the symptoms may go away or become less noticeable [remit]. In adults acute monoarthritis overlaps with causes of oligoarthritis or polyarthritis since virtually any arthritic disorder can initially present as one swollen joint. Causes of Monoarticular arthritis can be as simple as an overuse injury or fracture to gout, lyme disease, or septic arthritis (bacterial, fungal, or parasitic). And gout does not always just affect the big toe. Moreover, in rheumatoid arthritis, some of the earliest signs of the disease are in the hands and fingers. With RA, the smallest joints, toes and fingers are affected first. So if three months have passed and the pain is there, then more tests are needed to find out what is going on."

When I was 6 or 7, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis was mentioned once when I was taken to the emergency room with joint pain; but was never officially diagnosed. When I was younger, the problem was limited to my knees and ankles. As I got older the pain has increased to my hips, back, shoulders, basically all over. I've always treated it with heat and ibuprofen. I am glad to see that there is finally a diagnosis that fits: Oligoarthritis. Working out helps quite a bit [I have to work through the pain].

Most of the time that a child has arthritis it is either Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis or osteoarthritis caused by a trauma to a joint. An infection can also cause arthritis in a joint but it will usually disappear when the infection is treated. Also rarely other forms of autoimmune diseases can cause arthritis in children.

Elaine73

I was 13 years of age when I experienced severe joint pain: the worst was the joint I sat on in class or in a vehicle (one hour trip was excruciatingly painful). Next it was my knees, then shoulders and wrists. The joints were swollen, red and hot to touch. The pain lasted off & on for about 4 or 5 years, then subsided for about 25 years. It started again at about age 45. Now I am 73 and have osteoarthritis in my spine and knees. Is there any help for me, other than just pain killers such as Tylenol?

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