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Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

  • Did you know that juvenile arthritis affects 1 out of every 1,000 children? In honor

    of Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and to increase knowledge about health and

    wellness in Kansas City, here are 7 facts about juvenile arthritis.

    1. Juvenile arthritis is a broad term that encompasses several different types of

    inflammatory and autoimmune arthritis in children under the age of 16. Some of the

    forms of juvenile arthritis include juvenile lupus, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective

    tissue disorder, juvenile scleroderma, and juvenile dermatomyositis.

    2. There are nearly 300,000 children with Juvenile Arthritis in the United States.

    Juvenile Arthritis affects girls more than boys and typically becomes symptomatic

    between the ages of 2 and 3 or in the preteen to teen years.

    3. Juvenile arthritis is an autoimmune disease. With autoimmune diseases, the

    autoimmune system malfunctions and attacks various systems in the body. Type 1

    Diabetes, Hashimoto’s disease, Addison’s disease, and Multiple Sclerosis are also

    autoimmune diseases. Causes for these diseases are mostly unknown, but genetic

    factors play some role.

    4. The most common form of juvenile arthritis is juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Symptoms

    include erosion of bone, misalignment of joints, fevers and rash, and tightening of

    the muscles and soft tissue. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can also cause growth

    problems.

    5. The first symptoms of juvenile arthritis are swollen, achy joints, profound stiffness in

    the mornings, and unexplained fevers. In young children, there may also be delays

    in physical milestones like walking, running, and jumping.

    6. Juvenile arthritis is not a form of adult rheumatoid arthritis in children. In fact, only

    around 10 percent of children with juvenile arthritis present symptoms similar to

    adult rheumatoid arthritis. In these cases, children have positive Rheumatoid Factor

    and are likely to have more severe juvenile arthritis and more pronounced bone

    erosion.

    7. Early diagnosis and treatment are vital to prevent growth abnormalities. Drugs, such

    as Methotrexate and Biologics prevent children with juvenile arthritis from

    deteriorating to the point where they are confined to a wheelchair–an unfortunate

    but common outcome of Juvenile Arthritis in the past.

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