In this section
How you say it:
Rheumatology conditions can affect the muscles and joints in
many ways. This factsheet provides a brief overview of several
rheumatology conditions - you can find more detailed
information at the website of the RCH
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a general name for
several kinds of arthritis. 'Juvenile' means that it affects young
people; 'idiopathic' means that we don't know what the cause is;
and 'arthritis' means inflammation of the joints.
When a child is diagnosed with JIA, it is impossible to say
exactly how long the condition will last. JIA can continue for
months or years. The main ways of treating JIA include
medication for inflammation, exercise, splints, joint injections to
reduce inflammation in particular joints and pain management.
While treatment can reduce the symptoms, it does not lead to a
Systemic lupus erythematosus, also called SLE
or lupus, can affect almost any organ or organ system of the
body. Systemic lupus may include periods where few, if
any, symptoms are evident (remission), and periods when the
disease becomes more active (flare). Currently there is no cure
for lupus, but early diagnosis and proper medical treatment can
significantly help control the disease.
For most people with lupus, effective treatment can minimise
symptoms, reduce inflammation and pain, help maintain normal
functions and stop the development of serious
complications. Taking medications as directed, having blood or
urine tests when requested, attending scheduled medical appointments
and avoiding too much sun are all important parts of
treatment. A good working relationship with your child's
doctor is one of the most important factors in the successful
treatment of lupus.
See: The Lupus Foundation of
Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM) is a
disease marked by muscle weakness and skin rash. The first sign of
JDM is usually a skin rash. The rash may be:
Children with JDM can have weak muscles at the same time that they first get the skin rash, or the weak muscles may come days, weeks or
months after the rash.
The symptoms of JDM vary from patient to patient and no one treatment works
for everyone. Your child's doctor may use a combination of drugs and may
change them over time. It is very important that you and your child
talk openly about the treatment and any side effects.
Undertaking a regular exercise program, designed for each
individual's ability and weakness, is also important.
See: The Myositis Assocation
Vasculitis is a general term for a group
of diseases that involve inflammation in blood vessels. Blood
vessels of all sizes may be affected, from the largest vessel in
the body (the aorta in the heart) to the smallest blood vessels in the skin
(capillaries). The size of the blood vessels affected varies according
to the specific type of vasculitis.
Scleroderma, or systemic sclerosis, is a
chronic connective tissue disease generally classified as one of
the autoimmune rheumatic diseases. The word scleroderma
comes from two Greek words: 'sclero' meaning hard, and 'derma'
meaning skin. Hardening of the skin is one of the most visible
signs of the disease. Scleroderma varies from patient to
patient, but prompt and proper diagnosis and effective treatment
may minimise the symptoms and reduce the chance
of damage. Scleroderma is not something your child can
catch from, or spread to, others.
See: The US
Juvenile Scleroderma Network, Inc and The US
Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis
(CRMO) is a condition in which a child's bones become inflamed and
painful. CRMO comes and goes, which means there are periods where
there are no symptoms but 'flare-ups' occur
CRMO is rare and seems to affect more girls than boys. The
aim of treatment is to try to prevent flare-ups and treat them if
they occur. Long term follow up is usually required to monitor any
growth disturbances in the affected bones. Overall, the
outlook for children and young adults with CRMO is excellent. Most
people respond well to treatment and suffer few long-term
Developed by the RCH Rheumatology
Unit. First published in February 2008. Updated November
This information is intended to support, not replace, discussion with your doctor or healthcare professionals. The authors of these consumer health information handouts have made a considerable effort to ensure the information is accurate, up to date and easy to understand. The Royal Children's Hospital Melbourne accepts no responsibility for any inaccuracies, information perceived as misleading, or the success of any treatment regimen detailed in these handouts. Information contained in the handouts is updated regularly and therefore you should always check you are referring to the most recent version of the handout. The onus is on you, the user, to ensure that you have downloaded the most up-to-date version of a consumer health information handout.