Juvenile Arthritis affects more than 300,000 children in the US alone. This debilitating disease takes its physical and emotional toll by making everyday activities such as running and jumping so painful that those affected often choose not to participate.
What is Juvenile Arthritis?
Also known as pediatric rheumatic disease, JA is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children under the age of 16.
Although the various types of Juvenile Arthritis share many common symptoms, like pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth, each type of JA is distinct and has its own special concerns and symptoms. Some types of Juvenile Arthritis affect the musculoskeletal system, but joint symptoms may be minor or nonexistent. Juvenile Arthritis can also involve the eyes, skin, muscles and gastrointestinal tract.
Types of Juvenile Arthritis
- Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA). Considered the most common form of arthritis, JIA includes six subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated.
- Juvenile dermatomyositis. An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles.
- Juvenile lupus. Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood and other areas of the body.
- Juvenile scleroderma. Scleroderma, which literally means “hard skin,” describes a group of conditions that causes the skin to tighten and harden.
- Kawasaki disease. This disease causes blood-vessel inflammation that can lead to heart complications.
- Mixed connective tissue disease. This disease may include features of arthritis, lupus dermatomyositis and scleroderma, and is associated with very high levels of a particular antinuclear antibody called anti-RNP.
- Fibromyalgia. This chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness and aching, along with fatigue, disrupted sleep and other symptoms. More common in girls, fibromyalgia is seldom diagnosed before puberty. Juvenile Arthritis Causes
No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of Juvenile Arthritis, nor is there evidence to suggest that toxins, foods or allergies cause children to develop JA. Some research points
toward a genetic predisposition to Juvenile Arthritis, which means the combination of genes a child receives from his or her parents may cause the onset of JA when triggered by other factors.
Juvenile Arthritis Diagnosis & Treatment
The most important step in properly treating Juvenile Arthritis is getting an accurate diagnosis. While there is no single blood test that can confirm the disease, a careful physical examination, along with a through medical history is key.
Although there is no cure, with early diagnosis and aggressive treatment, remission is possible. Medical treatment, combining medication, physical activity and nutrituion, will relieve inflammation, control pain and improve your child’s quality of life.
Careteam+ Can Help
If you suspect your child is suffering from Juvenile Arthritis, contact Careteam+ Our pediatrician will prescribe medical treatment that will provide a lifetime of better health and enable your child to say ‘yes’ to his/her favorite activities.
To learn more, download this free brochure from the Arthritis Foundation:
Juvenile Arthritis Brochure
A special thanks to the Arthritis Foundation