When your child experiences symptoms of illness, you may start to panic if you are unsure about the reasons why. Your worries may be even greater if you have visited your child's pediatrician and you get no answers about issues like recurring fever and joint pain. However, if your child is from a Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent, learning more a disease called Familial Mediterranean Fever (FMF) is a good idea, especially if recurring fever is a chronic symptom in your child.
What Is FMF And What Causes It?
Usually occurring during childhood, FMF is a genetic disorder that is prevalent in people of Middle Eastern and Mediterranean descent. FMF is caused when a child is born with certain recessive genes. MEFV genes are the direct link to FMF disorder. If a child inherits two recessive MEFV genes, one from the mother and one the father, he or she will more than likely develop FMF.
The MEFV Gene Connection
The inflammation in the body is controlled by a protein call pyrin. Pyrin is directly impacted by the MEFV gene, and when it is recessive and off kilter, pyrin is no longer able to effectively control inflammation. When inflammation is out of control in your child's body, a recurring, non-contagious fever is one of the most common symptoms. Other symptoms of FMF can include the following:
Chest pain: Some children experience breathing difficulties and severe chest pain during an FMF episode.
Joint pain: In most cases, children experiencing an FMF episode have severe pain in one joint. The same joint is not always affected in each FMF episode. Knees and ankle joints are more commonly affected in most cases. Some children suffer with long term joint pain that is mistakenly diagnosed as juvenile arthritic conditions.
Muscle pain: While not prevalent in every case of FMF, muscle pain in the legs has been reported occurring in some children during an FMF episode. Usually, children suffering muscle in their legs during an FMF episode is after muscle exertion like running.
Rashes: Some children suffer rashes on the lower parts of their legs during an FMF episode.
FMF Treatment Options
While there is no cure for FMF, it can be controlled with medication. Your child will need to remain on medication for the long term for continuously controlling the symptoms of FMF. Your child's physician can help you learn more about the medicine he or she choose to prescribe for your child.
When your little one is sick and in severe pain, it can be heartbreaking and extremely stressful. By learning more about FMF, you will have an easier time dealing with the symptoms while also knowing more about how to make child feel more comfortable during episodes. For more information, speak to a specialist, like those at Arthritis & Rheumatology Associates of South Jersey.