Is Arthritis Hereditary?
Arthritis is a disease that impacts the joints. It is a chronic condition that worsens over time. The severity and type of symptoms can range considerably from patient to patient. While arthritis is an incredibly common condition, it is often misunderstood. There are well over 100 types of arthritis and depending on the type it will indicate what people should expect for their long-term health.
One of the most discussed topics surrounding arthritis is whether or not there is a genetic factor. In short, is arthritis hereditary? To put it simply, there is a genetic and family history factor that may determine your likeliness of developing some form of arthritis in your lifetime. Studies have linked the genetic factor to the HLA-B27 and HLA-DR4.
For parents with any form of arthritis, it can be absolutely overwhelming to worry about whether or not your child may also suffer from the same disease. Of course, the more you understand about the genetic aspect and where doctors stand with this, the more likely you will know what to do to ensure that your child remains as healthy as possible.
The Effectiveness of Testing Children
While there is a genetic and family history factor with arthritis, professionals do not think that blood testing should be a routine procedure for “at risk” children. The reason for this is that children may test positive for certain types of arthritis, but they may never develop a single symptom in their lifetime. In fact, only 10% of children whose parents have arthritis will even test positive.
However, doctors do agree that if children show symptoms of arthritis, then they should absolutely be tested and a treatment plan should be put in place as soon as possible.
Early Signs of Arthritis
Because early signs of arthritis are the only medical reason that a child should be tested, it is important to know what those signs are. Early detection is key and will help create a treatment plan early on. Common signs of arthritis include:
Make a note of any joint pain and whether or not it is gradual or sudden. Make sure to identify if it is the same joints over and over again or a single area of the body. This can help a doctor understand the progression or the condition.
Joint stiffness is uncommon in children, but it can occur for a variety of reasons. Make a note of how often stiffness occurs and in what area of the body.
Inflammation and infection are often identified due to warm joints. If your child complains of a warm feeling in their joints, then call your doctor to discuss arthritis testing.
Redness around the joints is often associated with inflammation. Unfortunately, inflammation is one of the most common symptoms associated with arthritis.
Tenderness is a common symptom of arthritis. Keep in mind this is not something kids will usually complain about. So, if your child indicates they have tenderness in their joints, it could be a sign that something is wrong.
Feeling tired happens, but do not ignore this, especially in young children. Chronic fatigue can be an early warning sign of arthritis and a variety of other health conditions.
Fever can be a hard symptom to associate with arthritis simply because it can be linked to a variety of other things. Usually, this symptom is accompanied by other arthritis-related symptoms.
Is your child sick a lot? It could be an early sign of arthritis. If your child regularly feels ill or has a general sense of unwellness, then you should discuss it with your doctor. This could be a sign of several health conditions that can range in severity.
Inability to Complete Regular Tasks
This is probably one of the easier symptoms to detect in children, simply because they are incredibly active. If your child is unable to perform certain physical tasks that they used to do with ease, then this could be a warning sign of arthritis. Do not ignore physical regression.
Because children are typically physically active and have the ability to move about with ease, it may be easier to identify early arthritis symptoms in children. Let your doctor know right away if your child experiences any of the above symptoms.
While there is a hereditary link with arthritis, it does not automatically indicate that your child will certainly have it at any point in their life. It is important to remain diligent in your child’s health, but also understand that this is not something that will certainly happen based on family history. Additionally, testing is only necessary if symptoms present themselves.
For more information about arthritis and the options that may be available to you, please contact your family doctor. Remaining diligent when it comes to your child’s health is important!