Juvenile Arthritis Awareness

Posted Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Did You Know?

1 in 250 U.S. children have been diagnosed with JA

More than 300,000 children in the United States have Juvenile Arthritis (JA).   In recent years there has been a greater focus on Arthritis awareness and treatment options for adults; however Juvenile Arthritis is not a common topic.  In fact, most Americas are not aware that children can suffer from Arthritis.  This resource is intended to help educate patients on the facts, types and symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis. 

01 | Facts

  • JA is an umbrella term for several different types of autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis that can affect children.  
  • For very young children, the first sign of JA may be losing a developmental milestone, such as walking.
  • JA is not just a pint-sized version of adult rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Only 10 percent of cases are similar to adult RA.
  • JA can have serious complications, including blindness, growth disturbances, skeletal and soft tissue deformities. 
  • Early diagnosis and treatment is key in preventing growth abnormalities. 
  • Growing up with JA can be difficult, however most children are able to lead normal lives. 

02 | Types

There are several different types of Juvenile Arthritis; the following is a list of the most common types of JA:

  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) – Considered the most common form of arthritis normally begins before the age of 16.  JIA, which includes several types of arthritis, was previously known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). 
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis - An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles. 
  • Juvenile lupus - Lupus is a disease of the immune system; the most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus (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. 
  • Fibromyalgia- This chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness, aching and sleep disorders.   

03 | Symptoms

Symptoms may vary based on the type of JA, the following is a list of the most common symptoms by JA type:

  • Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) - muscle and soft tissue tightening, bone erosion, joint misalignment and changes in growth patterns
  • Juvenile dermatomyositis - muscle weakness in the trunk, shoulders and upper legs thus potentially limiting running, climbing stairs and other activities.
  • Juvenile lupus - butterfly-shaped rash that bridges the nose and the cheeks, a scaly-type rash on the face or neck, sensitivity to sunlight, pain in the joints and chest pain.
  • Juvenile scleroderma – skin may become thickened, thinned, lighter or darker but is often hard but smooth and shiny in appearance. 
  • Fibromyalgia – joint stiffness and aching along with fatigue and changes in sleep patterns. 

For additional Juvenile Arthritis resources visit; http://www.niams.nih.gov/health_info/juv_arthritis/juvenile_arthritis_ff.asp

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