Rheumatoid arthritis is a type of rheumatic disease often characterized by the emergence of pain and stiffness of the fingers and wrists. Most cases of rheumatoid arthritis disease are usually experienced by adults.
However, this autoimmune disease can also be experienced by teenagers who are still young. For more details, I will review more about rheumatoid arthritis in teenagers.
Could rheumatoid arthritis occur in adolescents?
Rheumatoid arthritis, or abbreviated RA, is an autoimmune rheumatic disease that can cause inflammation of the body's joints. The disease is generally experienced by women, with early symptoms usually appearing at the age of 30-40 years.
However, not covering the likelihood of rheumatoid arthritis can also occur in men, children, even adolescents. As with rheumatoid arthritis in adults, causes of RA in adolescents are also not known for sure.
The interaction between genetic and environmental factors is suspected to be the trigger of this rheumatoid arthritis. In detail, the HLA-DR 4 molecule is a genetic that contributes to the cause of rheumatoid arthritis, including adolescents.
While environmental factors that play a role in rheumatoid arthritis diseases are smoking, estrogen hormones, bacterial infections, viruses, and Micro bacteria. People with HLA-DR 4 molecules in their body are at a risk of 4-5 times greater to be exposed to RA, than those who don't have these genetic molecules.
When are the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in teenagers with adults?
Basically, the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis that occur at a young age, such as in children and adolescents, are the same as adults. You will usually complain of joints that are painful, stiff, even swollen, especially in the fingers and wrists.
The symptoms of RA in the form of pain and stiffness in the hands can actually arise at any time. However, the complaint usually occurs most often in the morning. After doing various physical activities, such as sweeping, washing, and other, the RA symptoms can improve immediately.
Gradually, pain, stiffness, and swelling don't just attack the hand. The complaint can develop to the knee, ankle, shoulder, elbow, or neck.
Is rheumatoid arthritis in adolescents curable?
Rheumatoid arthritis in adolescents can’t be cured, so it will continue to be carried away until adulthood. However, treatment as early as possible should be given immediately to prevent the occurrence of more severe joint defects in the later days.
In addition, the goal of treatment of rheumatoid arthritis since young is to reduce joint inflammation, overcome pain, and prevent permanent joint damage.
That way, teenagers can still do normal activities like their peers, while also preventing the emergence of long-term complications from RA. Includes cardiovascular problems such as strokes and heart attacks.
What are the treatments of rheumatoid arthritis in adolescents?
The causes and symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis in adolescents can be the same as adults. However, the treatment obtained by teenagers is generally different from those of adults.
Both in terms of selection of the drug type, as well as the prescribed dose. The presence of treatment differences in each of the patients of RA is caused by several things, such as:
Severity of the disease.
Body condition and disease are owned.
Previous treatment history.
Treatment response. There are symptoms that can improve just by drinking one type of drug with small doses, but there are also those who need a combination of several types of drugs.
Treatment side effects differ. Some are taking the maximum dose but don't experience side effects, but some are experiencing side effects despite only drinking small doses.
In particular, there are several types of medications that can be administered to rheumatoid arthritis patients, including in adolescents. The first is Dmard (Disease-modifying diaphoretic drug), and the second is biologic agent.
DMARD is a group of drugs in charge of slowing the progression of the disease, while preventing joints from defects and permanent damage. Examples of these drugs include methotrexate, Sulfasalazine, Hydro-xylloroquin, leflunomide’s etc.
While the biologic agent is a group of drugs injected or infused into the body. This medication can provide a faster treatment effect than DMARD. Examples of these drugs include adalimumab, golimumab, tocilizumab, etanercept, infliximab, certolizumab, etc.
Besides helping to relieve pain in the joints, both types of drugs can also prevent damage or joint defects.
Does rheumatoid arthritis treatment have to be done forever?
Yes, treatment of rheumatoid arthritis, in children, adolescents, and adults should be done for a lifetime. RA can’t be healed completely, but the disease is still manageable.
The main way is to conduct regular treatment, so that rheumatoid arthritis patients can enter the remission phase. The remission phase is a condition when the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis disease are in a stable state.
Easily, teenagers who are undergoing a remission phase in rheumatoid arthritis don't experience joint pain, swelling, and blood erythrocyte sedimentation rate normally. That is why, RA treatment is very important to give as early as possible.
Although it can’t cure this autoimmune disease completely, but the proper treatment can at least control the progression of the disease. As a result, the quality of life of teenagers who have rheumatoid arthritis could be better.
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