The biggest date in the calendar for raising awareness of Juvenile Arthritis (JA) and other childhood rheumatic conditions
Hard to imagine that this very second somewhere in the world and even near you there is a child who dreams to hop skip jump and play like other kids their do.
They dream of living a life that should be pain free, they wish they didn’t have to take daily injections or pills some even have infusion treatments that can last several hours.
Multiply that child 300,000, and you start to get the picture of how prevalent this little-known childhood disease is in our nation today. That number is about equal to the entire population of St. Louis or Cincinnati.
Globally approximately 3 million children and young adults are suffering from JIA with prevalence rates consistently higher in girls.
What are the causes of juvenile arthritis? The cause of juvenile arthritis is unknown. As with most autoimmune diseases, individual cases of JIA are likely due to a combination of genetic factors, environmental exposures, and the child’s immune system.
What are the types of juvenile arthritis?
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the umbrella term for several subtypes of arthritis seen in children and adolescents under the age of 16. JIA is arthritis with no known cause (this is what “idiopathic” means), to distinguish it from infectious forms of childhood arthritis. There are six main subtypes of JIA:
• Oligoarticular JIA: arthritis that involves four joints or fewer
• Polyarticular JIA: arthritis that involves five or more joints
• Systemic arthritis: begins with fevers, rashes, and inflammation in other parts of the body as well as the joints
• Psoriatic Arthritis: inflammation of the joints that occurs in some children with psoriasis (a skin condition)
• Enthesitis-Related Arthritis: arthritis associated with enthesitis, which is inflammation of the entheses, the places where tendons and ligaments attach to bones
• Undifferentiated JIA: a type that doesn’t fit into any one of the categories above
Other types of juvenile arthritis include:
• septic arthritis: arthritis caused by an infection of the joint
• lupus: a chronic autoimmune condition that can have arthritis as a feature
• juvenile dermatomyositis: a chronic autoimmune condition that can occasionally have arthritis as a feature
• enteropathic arthritis: a type of arthritis that can occur with inflammatory bowel disease (IBD)
What are the symptoms of juvenile arthritis?
The signs and symptoms can vary, depending on what type of juvenile arthritis your child has.
Some of the most common symptoms of juvenile arthritis include swelling of a joint, along with stiffness and pain. Symptoms can involve the hands, feet, and knees, but any joint can be involved. Joint stiffness occurs primarily in the morning or after long periods of inactivity (gelling phenomenon). Other signs include:
• limping, especially in the morning
• swelling in the lymph nodes
• high fever
• skin rash
Symptoms may get better or disappear completely for periods of time (remission), and then flare up at other times.
What are the causes of juvenile arthritis?
The cause of juvenile arthritis is unknown. As with most autoimmune diseases, individual cases of JIA are likely due to a combination of genetic factors, environmental exposures, and the child’s immune system.
Eating some foods, like those found in the ever popular Mediterranean diet like
fatty fish salmon,cod , avocado fresh fruits, all vegetables, nuts and seeds whole grains and extra virgin olive oil and avoiding the high-fat, sugary and processed foods can help curb the body’s inflammation.
Hot and Cold Treatments
Heat treatment like heat pads or heat wraps warm baths, work best for soothing stiff joints and tired muscles.
But cold is best for acute pain. It can numb painful areas and reduce inflammation.
These creams, gels or stick-on patches can ease the pain.
Children that learn meditation and breathing techniques (listening to music or reading) and practicing visualization can help relax and divert attention away from pain, especially during injections or infusion time.
Massage and Acupuncture
Massage can help ease stress and anxiety, box breathing is also a good way children and adults can relax.
The use of supplements are rarely studied in children, but some supplements that help adults possibly may help a child.
But don’t just rush to give your child supplements talk to their doctor always first. Because some supplements may interact if the child is also on prescription medication
Stress and Emotions
Kids and teens with chronic diseases are more likely to also have depression
Therapists and psychologists can help kids deal with tough emotions and teach positive coping strategies. A strong support system is important as well.
If you are a parent guardian ir family member of someone with JA
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) can be difficult for children to live with. That’s why it is important for parents and guardians to learn about JIA and how to help. We’ve rounded up a few tips for how to best support a child with JIA.
• Learn: Learn about the condition and treatment, and find a health care provider who specializes in treating JIA. Usually, that is a pediatric rheumatologist. Physical therapists can help with pain management.
• Prepare: Have cold packs and heat treatments, like a heating pad, at the ready for joint pain and stiff muscles. Sometimes your child may need a splint (a piece of hard material, usually wrapped in fabric) to help reduce pain and swelling. Make sure to talk to your child’s health care provider before using a splint.
• Educate: Work with your child’s school and school health care provider to educate them on your child’s needs and how to best support them if they are experiencing pain.
• Find balance: Find a good balance with rest and exercise for your child. Sometimes they may need more rest or more activity. Generally, short rest breaks are better than long periods in bed.
• Support health: It’s important that your child has a balanced diet full of whole grains, lean protein, fruits, and vegetables. Children also need a good night’s sleep, which can range from nine to 13 hours depending on their age.
• Stay positive: Keep a positive mindset and help your child understand that they are supported. Help answer any questions they have about JIA, and if you can’t answer them, check with a health care provider.
If in NE Ohio a great place for JA kids to get treatment and excellent care is Akron Children’s Hospital
Donate to you local Children’s Hospital and the Arthritis Foundation
Support Me by donating to
Walk To Cure through the Arthritis Foundation – Whether you’re an arthritis warrior yourself or care about someone who is, sign up and raise funds for WALK to CURE Arthritis!
Coast to Coast all over the United States walks are being held this year to highlight the need for more research dollars to help kids living with juvenile arthritis and to help adults with all issues stemming from all types of arthritis. Did you know there are over 200 forms of arthritis?
To help find a walk in your area sign up participate or if you know somebody who is walking in the walk to cure support them by donating 5-10-100 or as much money as you feel lead to donate.
It’s a great way to get outside meet new people and support a great cause
If you would like to support me in my walk for Walk to cure arthritis link is below. No amount is too small.
the link is below.
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Our daughter began limping at age 4 and multiple pediatricians were mystified as to what the problem was. I hit the books that summer and wrote to Scottish Rite of Dallas asking for an appt for what appeared to me to be Pauciarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (apparently now called Oligoarticular JIA). That diagnosis was confirmed by their specialist several months later, and our daughter remained a patient with them until age 18. Had we not been offered a cancellation slot she would not have been seen until more than a year after her limp began, necessitating bone-lengthening surgery. Early recognition is so important; hopefully the symptoms of this disease are better covered with those in pediatric training today.
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