Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
It is a common notion that arthritis affects the elderly only. However, it is not true. Arthritis can affect children too. Arthritis means ‘joint inflammation’ in Latin. The term Arthritis was first described by a pediatrician, Frederick, still in the 18th century.
Juvenile arthritis is a type of arthritis that affects children and teenagers, causing pain, inflammation, and stiffness in their joints. In this blog, we will explore the significance of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month and shed light on the challenges faced by children and families dealing with juvenile arthritis.
Significance Of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month holds immense significance
- Raising Awareness: This Month aims to shed light on children's experiences with arthritis and increase understanding within the community. By spreading awareness, we can debunk misconceptions and support affected individuals.
- Supporting Families and Children: One of the primary goals is to offer support and resources to families and children affected by the condition. Various organizations and advocacy groups dedicated to juvenile arthritis provide valuable assistance, including educational materials, counseling services, and support networks.
- Spreading Hope: While living with juvenile arthritis can be challenging, it is important to remember that there is hope. Advances in medical research and treatment options offer promising prospects for improved outcomes. Early diagnosis, access to appropriate medical care, and a multidisciplinary approach involving healthcare providers, physical therapists, and occupational therapists can significantly enhance the quality of life for children with juvenile arthritis.
Understanding Juvenile Arthritis
Juvenile arthritis is a group of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that manifest in children under 16. This umbrella term includes various types. The exact causes of these conditions remain unclear, but factors such as genetics, infections, and environmental triggers are believed to play a role. In children, arthritis affects the joints, eyes, skin, and gastrointestinal tract.
Types Of Juvenile Arthritis
Following are the several types of juvenile arthritis
- Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (Most common type)
- Juvenile myositis
- Juvenile Scleroderma
- Juvenile Lupus
- Mixed Connective Tissue Disease
Symptoms Of Juvenile Arthritis
Symptoms of juvenile arthritis come and go with time. Sometimes, the symptoms might get worse, called flares, and in some instances, the symptoms might get better, called remission. The following are the symptoms of juvenile arthritis.
- Joint stiffness (especially in the morning)
- Swelling in the joints
- Pain and tenderness in the joints
- Inflammation and redness of the eye
- Feeling fatigued
- Loss of appetite
- Loss of weight
- Blurry vision
- Trouble in performing everyday activities like walking and dressing
- Shortness of breath
Diagnosis Of Juvenile Arthritis
The various diagnostic tests performed for juvenile arthritis are:
- Complete physical examination
- Medical history examination
- Blood and urine tests
Juvenile Arthritis Treatment
Juvenile arthritis is not curable. However, early diagnosis and proper treatment can help in easing the symptoms. The goals of the treatment of juvenile arthritis are to ease pain, to improve joint mobility and strength, and to prevent further complications.
Drugs Used To Treat Juvenile Arthritis
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs): NSAIDs in juvenile arthritis used to treat and relieve pain and swelling
- Slow-acting antirheumatic drugs (SAARDs): They treat pain and swelling over time and can take a few weeks to work.
- Disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs (DMARDs): These are the drugs that act by suppressing the immune system and relieving the symptoms.
- Corticosteroids: These drugs are given through injections and act quickly. Usually, they are given to manage the symptoms of pain and swelling.
Apart from the treatments mentioned above, eating healthy foods (including foods like fish, fruits, whole grains, and vegetables), hot and cold treatments to soothe the pain and stiffness of joints, topical creams or gels, mind-body therapies (meditation, yoga, deep breathing, reading and listening to music), massages to ease pain, stress and anxiety, acupuncture, stress, and emotional management are some methods that can help in case of juvenile arthritis. Regular physical activity like walking, yoga, and swimming can also help effectively manage pain and joint stiffness.
Living With Juvenile Arthritis
Arthritis is not the end. Children having juvenile arthritis must be treated with utmost love and care. These children should be encouraged to live normally like other children. Attending school, playing outdoors, participating in sports, and other school activities should be encouraged as physical activity can help improve their condition.
Parents must stay optimistic and motivate their children with juvenile arthritis to have a positive outlook. Parents must communicate with their children and encourage them to join support groups so that their children can interact with other kids going through the same and feel better. They must ensure their children eat healthy, sleep well, and take their medications on time.