July is observed as “Juvenile Arthritis Month” across the United States. Sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation, this observance is all about raising awareness about the early signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis and increasing focus on the resources for children affected by the disease. There is a general misconception that arthritis or joint inflammation affects only older adults. However, juvenile arthritis is one of the most common chronic illnesses affecting children. According the Arthritis Research Foundation, an estimated 300,000 children in the United States, that is – 1 in every 1000 – tends to develop some type of chronic arthritis.
In adults, arthritis affects the joints. On the other hand, arthritis in children can cause bone and joint growth problems and also affect the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract. The 2018 campaign aims to spread awareness about the symptoms of juvenile arthritis that often go undetected or misdiagnosed.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is one of the most common types of arthritis affecting children below the age of 16 years. Common signs and symptoms include – persistent joint pain, swelling and stiffness, fever, swollen lymph nodes and rash. Some children may experience symptoms only for a few months, while others will have symptoms for the rest of their lives. Treatment for the condition focuses on pain management, improving function, and preventing joint damage.
A combination of both hereditary and environmental factors triggers juvenile arthritis. No single test can confirm a diagnosis of JIA. However, a combination of tests can help rule out some other conditions that produce similar signs and symptoms. Initial diagnosis involves a detailed physical exam, X-rays and other imaging tests to identify the potential causes of symptoms. Multi-specialty healthcare centers in Brooklyn, NYC offer several pain management programs like – physical therapy, Transcutaneous Electrical Nerve Stimulation (TENS), Non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, and other medications that help relieve pain and reduce inflammation thereby improving the child’s quality of life.
The month-long Juvenile Arthritis campaign aims to alert people about the main causes of this pediatric rheumatic disease and discuss the steps that can be taken to prevent the disease. As part of the campaign, multispecialty healthcare centers, health organizations and top medical experts will join hands to find a cure for JIA and conduct comprehensive programs to help people understand the potential risks associated with the disease. People can join this movement by sharing the story about their struggle with juvenile arthritis. They can spread the word online via different social media platforms like Facebook or Twitter with the hash tag #StrongerThanJA.
Celebrate Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month by doing your bit to generate more awareness about this pediatric rheumatic disease.