300,000 children in the US have arthritis and 1 in every 1,000 child or teenager under 16 will be diagnosed with arthritis across the UK according to NRAS.
When we think about arthritis we immediately think of our elder generations. Whilst the chances are higher with older age, young people can still get arthritis.
Children & teenagers get the type of Arthritis called Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). The juvenile part means (16 years and younger)
Here are 9 more facts about JIA that you might not have known.
The exact cause of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is unknown
We know the condition is affecting the immune system. The immune system's job is to combat germs, diseases and anything that is trying to harm the body. However, in people with JA, the immune system attacks the healthy joints, causing inflammation and pain.
There are many different types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.
The types of JIA are:
Enthesitis Related Arthritis (ERA)
Systemic onset JIA
There is no known cure for JIA
Whilst there is no known cure for Juvenile Arthritis, there are a few methods patients with JIA have found to ease their chronic pain and live productive and happy lives. Many sufferers of arthritis often teach JIA the non-traditional pain relief methods but also how to live with the chronic illness day by day.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed completely
Many children with JIA suffer from joint pain, stiffness, loss of motion in joints, fever, weight loss and rashes. However, many children don't complain or seek much attention for the pain they are feeling.
Exercise is included in the treatment
Exercise is a part of the treatment for JIA and should be different for each sufferer. The last thing any child wants is to exercise when they are in pain. However, like everyone else, exercise is needed to maintain a healthy lifestyle. This can be hard with those suffering from JIA and takes time to discover what type of exercise is best for the individual.
JIA symptoms can be reduced
JIA symptoms, like arthritis in older people, can be treated by the use of specific treatment programs dedicated to targeting the symptoms. Self pain management is a great way of improving the quality of life for many people. This could be figuring out triggers that lead to “flares” and adjusting your lifestyle around it. Although there is no cure, there are pain relief techniques that can be used.
JIA affects every person differently
Individual’s symptoms can change and even day to day. Symptoms can and will change from the morning to the evening. “Flare-ups” or “Flares” can happen at any time, can be triggered and can last for a random time frame.
JIA is not just about joints - It can affect other organs.
The heart, lungs eyes, liver and skin can all be affected by JIA. It can have long term damage on the body if left untreated. This is one of many reasons why awareness is vital!
You are not alone! Support is available
There are several; support groups and organizations designed to help the youth. There are also groups for parents of JIA patients. The organizations work closely with parents to improve the lives of patients. There are also support groups on facebook that provide great information to parents. There is also a host of benefits and financial assistance available. The links will be below
Here is a list of the support groups and organizations
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis Organizations:
www.nras.org.uk/what-is-jia- - Fantastic organization who support, raise awareness and campaign for JIA
https://www.jia.org.uk - Amazing organization with a large number of useful links for charities, grants and support groups. (UK)
https://www.arthritis.org Great foundation with a wealth of information surrounding all types of arthritis. (US)