Some helpful facts you should know
The statistics for juvenile arthritis (JA) are staggering: An estimated 300,000 children in the United States—that’s 1 in 250 kids—are affected by some form of the disease. According to the Arthritis Foundation, the disease takes a unique physical and emotional toll on kids, often resulting in debilitating pain and feelings of loneliness or depression. Not a happy illness at all, yet many children are resilient, thank goodness.
The most common type of arthritis in children under the age of 16 is juvenile idiopathic arthritis, formerly known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, according to the Mayo Clinic, which notes that some types of JA can cause serious complications, such as growth problems, joint damage and eye inflammation. Treatment focuses on controlling pain and inflammation, improving function, and preventing joint damage. Symptoms include pain, swelling, stiffness and fever, swollen lymph nodes and a rash. Some forms of JA are more common in girls.
There is some positive news. The American College of Rheumatology offers these facts:
• Arthritis in children is treatable.
• Most children with arthritis can expect to live normal lives.
• Some children with JA have their disease go into remission.
• Federal and state programs may provide assistance with school accommodations or services.
• Except in rare circumstances, this condition is not directly inherited from the mother or father.
Check out this great website from the Arthritis Foundation for families with children suffering from JA, which offers easy-to-understand information for kids, parents and care providers. For more information about JA and Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, which is observed in July, check out the Arthritis Foundation’s Juvenile Arthritis Blog and information from reputable sources like the Mayo Clinic and the American College of Rheumatology.