Seven facts you did not know about juvenile arthritis
By Tanasia Jackson
Arthritis, the nation’s number one cause of disability, has a common misconception that only “old” people suffer from arthritis. The disease, however, does not discriminate, affecting those of all ages, races and genders. July is observed as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month because “Kids Get Arthritis, Too.”
To raise awareness for juvenile arthritis, here are seven facts you may not know about this life impacting disease.
- Juvenile arthritis (JA) itself is not the disease
JA is a broad term used to cover the variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children up to the age of 16.
- There are seven different types of juvenile arthritis
Types of JA include juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), juvenile dermatomyositis, juvenile lupus, juvenile scleroderma, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective tissue disease and fibromyalgia. You can learn more about the different types of juvenile arthritis at arthritis.org.
- Juvenile arthritis affects nearly 300,000 children in the United States
A 2007 Centers for Control and Disease Prevention study estimated that every 1 in 250 children have been diagnosed with arthritis or another rheumatologic condition. That’s nearly 300,000 children who are not able to enjoy their childhood to the fullest.
- There is no blood test to diagnose the disease
According to the Arthritis Foundation, there is no single blood test that confirms any type of juvenile arthritis. The key to diagnosis is a detailed physical exam and a study of medical history.
- No known cause has been pinpointed
As an autoimmune disorder, the immune system attacks the body’s healthy cells and tissues. The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases (NIAMS) states that scientists don’t know why this happens or what causes the disorder. Many believe a child’s inherited genes may make a child more likely to get arthritis.
- While remission is possible, there is no known cure for arthritis
Unfortunately, no known cure for arthritis exists. The ultimate goal of treatment is to improve the child’s quality of life.
- You have the chance to change lives
The Arthritis Foundation states, “When you join the movement, you become part of the answer.” Become a part of the answer this summer by finding events near you. You can also volunteer at the 2015 National JA Conference, which is set to take place at the end of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month.
You can promise to raise awareness for juvenile arthritis or to get involved by joining OrthoIndy’s I Promise campaign.
Posted by, Tanasia Jackson, the OrthoIndy Marketing Intern during summer 2015. During her internship, Jackson wrote a wide array of articles and blog posts, as well as aided in social media and media relations tactics for OrthoIndy and OrthoIndy Hospital. Jackson will graduate from Ball State University in May 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in public relations and a communications studies minor.