What is Juvenile Arthritis?
Juvenile arthritis (JA) is any form of arthritis or arthritis related conditions which affects individuals under the age of 16. Three classifications of juvenile arthritis exist:
- juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA)
- juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA)
- juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA)
Arthritis is a complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consisting of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues, hampering or halting physical movement.
Juvenile arthritis (JA) is a term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger.
What are the effects?
Having arthritis will affect your child’s entire life. It often makes things more difficult, but it is important to stick to your child’s normal routines that are preformed daily. Making sure to not make too much emphasis and helping your child to focus on everything else in life.
Your child may experience pain and stiffness and can change from hour to hour and day to day. These “flare ups” can happen at any time and can vary in pain. JA can cause joint damage, growth issues and should not be looked upon lightly.
How is it diagnosed?
In children, the key to diagnosis is a careful physical exam, along with looking at their medical history. From there x-rays and other image test are performed. There is no “one” test that tells us a child has Juvenile Arthritis. If your child is experiencing pain or stiffness on an ongoing basis, it best to have them checked over with your doctor.
What causes it?
There is no known cause of Juvenile Arthritis. Research does point towards a genetic predisposition, which means the combination of the genes a child receives from their parents may cause arthritis when triggered by other factors.
What are the treatment options?
Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. Often times children do grow out of this or it can just go away, which is better known as remission.
Remission may last for weeks, months, year’s or a child’s lifetime.
The goal of treatment plan is to relieve inflammation, control pain and improve your child’s quality of life. Many treatment plans consist of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating.
We agree with the physical activity, healthy eating, eye care, drinking lots of water and if you must, medication.
Giving your child a healthy lifestyle will give him or her the best chance to deal with this disease.
Too many children do not have a healthy diet and often times drink little to no water. As parents we shape a lot of our children’s habits, so setting a good example of proper water consumption, healthy eating and exercising is a must!
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