- 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
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
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.