Pediatric Rheumatology

Rheumatology refers to a series of disorders that affect the joints, muscles and bones. There are over 100 different kinds of rheumatic diseases, many of which are chronic or life-threatening. Some of the most common rheumatic diseases include arthritis, gout, lupus, osteoporosis, fibromyalgia and tendonitis. While rheumatic diseases are most common among older people, they can also affect children. Identifying these diseases at an early stage is important in preventing damage and ensuring proper growth and development.

Rheumatic disease in children can cause swelling, stiffness or pain in skin, muscles, tendons and bones. They are often the result of an immune system attack on the body. While children suffer from the same symptoms as adults, their growing bodies require special care to allow for manageable control and prevention of damage that may cause complications. Pediatric rheumatologists specialize in treating these sensitive diseases in children and providing the most effective treatment method.

Pediatric Rheumatic Diseases

Common pediatric rheumatic diseases may include:

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, is a chronic disease that causes joint pain and inflammation and may eventually lead to joint damage. Like most other pediatric rheumatic diseases, the cause of JRA is unknown. It may affect several or many joints and pain may be mild or severe, and can also include swelling, fevers and rash. Most patients enter remission with minimal damage after conservative treatment methods.


Dermatomyositis is a disease of the muscle that causes inflammation and a skin rash. The cause is unknown but may be due to infection. This disease tends to affect children between the ages of 5 and 15. Symptoms include muscle weakness or stiffness, a purple-red rash, purple upper eyelids and shortness of breath. Dermatomyositis can be treated with anti-inflammatory medication and in some cases, may result in full recovery.

Ankylosing Spondylitis

Ankylosing spondylitis is a chronic disease that causes pain in the hip or lower back and forces the child to retain a bent posture in order to relive pain. This disease may affect children before the age of ten and the cause is unknown. Other symptoms include eye inflammation, fatigue and heel pain. Without treatment, the affected spinal bones may eventually join together.


Lupus is a chronic autoimmune disease in which the body attacks itself. This leads to inflammation of the joints and results in pain and swelling. The cause of this disease is not known but it is most common in children over the age of ten. Symptoms of lupus include fever, fatigue, skin rash, swollen glands and nausea. Treatment focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing flare ups.

Lyme disease

Lyme disease is an inflammatory disease caused by a certain bacteria carried by ticks. It is transmitted through a tick bite. Symptoms usually resemble the flu, along with a red rash with a clear center. A stiff neck and joint inflammation can also develop. Lyme disease can be treated with antibiotics.

Treatment methods for pediatric rheumatic diseases vary and depend upon the type and severity of the disease, and the age and overall health of the child. Pediatric rheumatologists treat patients with the goal of relieving pain and other symptoms and helping to maintain a normal life for the child.


Dr. Priya Ramani treats children in areas throughout and around Tampa such as: Oldsmar, Dunedin, Odessa, Clearwater, Largo, St. Petersburg, Redington Shores, Palm Harbor, Bradenton, Seffner, Temple Terrace, Greater Carrollwood, Bloomingdale, Westchase, Wesley Chapel, Tarpon Springs, New Port Richey, Crystal Springs, Bayonet Point, Dade City, Brandon, Riverview, Hudson, Lutz, Land O' Lakes, Citrus Park, Pebble Creek, Cheval, Town n' Country, Dover, Valrico, Plant City, Gandy, Zephyrhills, Ruskin, Sun City, Trinity, Safety Harbor, Seminole, Indian Shores, and Belleair Beach.

For more information about Pediatric Rheumatology, Call Priya Ramani's office at 

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