Pediatric rheumatologists are specialists who focus on the diagnosis and treatment of autoimmune and inflammatory disorders in children and adolescents. These disorders can affect the joints, muscles, bones, and organs of the body. Some common disorders that may be treated by a pediatric rheumatologist include:
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA).T his is a type of arthritis that affects children under the age of 16, causing joint pain, swelling, and stiffness.
- Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE). This is an autoimmune disorder that can affect the skin, joints, kidneys, and other organs of the body.
- Juvenile dermatomyositis (JDM). This is a rare inflammatory disorder that can cause muscle weakness and skin rashes.
- Systemic scleroderma: This is a rare autoimmune disorder that can cause hardening and thickening of the skin and connective tissue.
- Vasculitis. This is a group of disorders that cause inflammation of blood vessels, which can lead to damage of organs such as the kidneys, lungs, and brain.
- Periodic fever syndromes: This includes disorders such as familial Mediterranean fever (FMF), which cause recurrent episodes of fever and inflammation.
- Chronic recurrent multifocal osteomyelitis (CRMO). This is a rare condition that causes inflammation in the bones and can lead to bone pain and fractures.
- Behçet’s disease. This is a rare disorder that causes inflammation in blood vessels and can affect the skin, eyes, and other organs.
Pediatric rheumatologists use a range of diagnostic tools, such as blood tests and imaging studies, to diagnose these and other disorders. Treatment may include medication to reduce inflammation and manage symptoms, as well as physical therapy to improve joint mobility and strength. They may also work closely with other healthcare providers, such as physical therapists and occupational therapists, to provide comprehensive care to children with these complex conditions.