When most people hear the word arthritis one may think of an older person struggling to preform daily tasks. However, there is another type called Juvenile Arthritis (JA) and affects more people than a person may think. Read on to learn more about it, what are the symptoms, and how someone treats it or can be a support to those who struggle with it daily.
Healthy Tip Tuesday is brought to you in partnership with Trinity Health Systems.
The Center for Disease Control states that over 300,000 children in the United States struggle with Juvenile or Childhood Arthritis. Most types of JA are caused by autoimmune or autoinflammatory diseases. Essentially a child’s immune system is not working properly and is unable to fight off foreign invaders. As a result, there can be inflammation of the joints.
What are the symptoms of JA:
- Joint pain
- Fatigue (tiredness)
- Loss of appetite
- Inflammation of the eye
- Difficultly with daily living activities such as walking, dressing, and playing.
- Organ damage
A primary care doctor is the first line of support for a child and their family struggling with JA. After they will refer them to a rheumatologist, who specializes in this type of care. There is no known cure for JA, but it can go into times of remission. It is unique to every individual, and some may have chronic pain and swelling.
Some goals treatment can include:
- Slow down or stop inflammation and prevent disease progression.
- Relieve symptoms, control pain, and improve quality of life.
- Prevent or avoid joint and organ damage.
- Preserve joint function and mobility for adulthood.
- Reduce long-term health effects.
It is also important to exercise, eat healthy, and join support groups with others coping with JA.
If you know someone struggling with JA:
- Learn more about the type of Juvenile Arthritis they have.
- What they are experiencing at the moment
- Ask what you can do to support them
- Listen to their story and journey
- Let them know they are not alone.