Did you know that kids can get arthritis too? It’s not just a disorder in the elderly, hundreds of thousands of kids are suffering from this disease today. That is why we wear blue in July, it’s juvenile arthritis awareness month, a month dedicated to increase awareness over early signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis. The torch for this cause was lit by the Arthritis Foundation and targets a condition that currently affect 300,000 children nationwide, making it one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States.
Arthritis literally means joint inflammation in Latin, and to many of us that is what we think it is — painful joints and inflammation in connective tissues of those joints. However, the reality is that juvenile arthritis can include eyes, skin and the gastrointestinal tract as affected areas as well. Juvenile arthritis has a large variety in forms and researchers and doctors are working hard to better understand what the differences are and how different approaches can be used to help children suffering.
When discussing arthritis in kids, professionals use three classifications. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Juvenile Chronic Arthritis and Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis is the most common of the three. The classifications are based off of symptoms, number of joints involved and the presence of antibodies in the blood.
It’s 2020 and as of today, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis — only pain management. The custom approach to juvenile arthritis, all three classifications, is helping to control the child’s pain levels, reduce inflammation and maintain mobility. In more extreme cases there can be surgeries performed to help prevent further joint damage to the child. Many treatment options consist of medications, therapeutic physical activities and diet. The most important aspect of any treatment plan is the way in which all measures are included in the affected child’s daily schedule in order to affect the quality of life as little as possible.
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