Introduction

The management of rheumatic disease during adolescence involves unique diagnostic and therapeutic challenges to the clinician. Pathogenesis, treatment, and prognosis of many musculoskeletal disorders differ greatly in children compared to adults. Since adolescents can present with manifestations common to either age range, an awareness of differences is essential. The psychological, emotional, and developmental effects of illness in this age group are discussed in Chapter 1. When managing children with chronic rheumatic conditions, knowledge of prognosis, including morbidity, mortality and long-term adverse effects of medications, is paramount, and will be covered in other chapters. This chapter will address the spectrum of disease seen during adolescence, and highlight important differences when compared to pediatric and/or adult populations.

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