Diagnosing Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
In many cases, diagnosing a disease like juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is difficult, as there is no single test that can confirm the presence of the disease in a child. A healthcare provider may suspect juvenile rheumatoid arthritis if they observe unexplained skin rashes and fever, swelling of lymph nodes, or persistent joint swelling. After reviewing the patient's medical history and conducting a physical exam, a healthcare provider may recommend certain blood tests when making a juvenile rheumatoid arthritis diagnosis.
Diagnosing Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis: An OverviewIn its early stages, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can be difficult to diagnose for several reasons. First, there is no single test for the disease. In addition, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis symptoms differ from child to child and can be more severe in some children than in others. Also, symptoms of the condition can be similar to those of other types of arthritis and joint conditions, and it may take some time to rule out other conditions. Finally, the full range of symptoms develops over time, and only a few symptoms may be present in the early stages of the disease.
Healthcare providers usually suspect juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (along with several other possible conditions) when they see children with any one of the following:
- Persistent joint pain or swelling
- Unexplained skin rashes and fever
- Swelling of lymph nodes
- Inflammation of internal organs.
A healthcare provider may also consider a diagnosis of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis in children with an unexplained limp or excessive clumsiness.