July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
That’s right, kids get arthritis!
Nearly 300,000 children in America have been diagnosed with juvenile arthritis, and we need help spreading the word!
No Cure for Juvenile Arthritis
An estimated 300,000 children in the U.S. — that’s 1 in 250 kids — are affected by some form of Juvenile Arthritis (JA). This disease takes a unique physical and emotional toll on kids, often resulting in debilitating pain and feelings of loneliness or depression.
JA can make it especially challenging for kids to say “Yes” — Yes to playing, Yes to hanging out with friends, Yes to spending time with family, Yes to being a kid!
The disease attacks the child’s joints and immune system causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness. Each form affects the child differently.
An early diagnosis is a key to stopping greater progression and damage from the disease. Although there have been advances in identifying JA earlier, we are still not where we need to be, as many children are misdiagnosed until they are referred to a pediatric rheumatologist. This is one reason why spreading awareness about juvenile arthritis this month is so important.
The Arthritis Foundation & Juvenile Arthritis
The Arthritis Foundation is dedicated to standing alongside each and every family in the U.S. affected by juvenile arthritis and related pediatric rheumatic diseases. Read more about them here.
Types of Juvenile Arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
Considered the most common form of childhood arthritis, JIA includes six subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood and other parts of the body. The most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE.
This chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness and aching, along with fatigue, disrupted sleep and other symptoms. More common in girls, fibromyalgia is seldom diagnosed before puberty.
An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles.
This disease causes blood vessel inflammation that can lead to heart complications.
Scleroderma, which literally means “hard skin,” describes a group of conditions that can cause the skin to tighten and harden.
At this moment there is no cure for juvenile arthritis.
The approach to JA is to control pain levels, reduce inflammation and maintain mobility, while in more extreme cases surgery is the only possible solution to prevent further joint damage.