The month of July has been dedicated to raising awareness for juvenile arthritis, an uncommon disease that affects children. Sufferers of juvenile arthritis often have swollen or stiff joints, stiffness that doesn’t go away, and pain. These symptoms are usually worse in the mornings or after naps. Most people are under the impression that arthritis only affects the elderly because they most commonly hear about osteoarthritis, which affects older people. JIA (Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis) are debilitating autoimmune diseases that affect children from infancy to the age of sixteen.
It is a disease where the child’s immune system mistakenly identifies healthy tissue as unhealthy and attacks it. There are nine different types of JIA and they each have their own specific symptoms and treatment plans. Arthritis affects over 300,000 children in the U.S. alone and there is no cure for it. The only thing that can be done for JIA patients is to reduce swelling, relieve pain, and improve quality of life. All juvenile arthritis has similar symptoms but no symptoms are definite proof that the child is suffering from it. The only way to be sure that the child is suffering from JIA is to have them examined by a pediatric rheumatologist.
You can join the movement by wearing the color blue to signify your support for JIA sufferers and to raise awareness and knowledge of it. You can also donate to the cause and help to aid the medical advancement and get us one step closer to finding a cure for childhood arthritis. Sharing your story of juvenile arthritis or urging others to share theirs is a very effective way of raising awareness of what sufferers of JIA have to go through on a daily basis. By just telling one person that it is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month you are making a difference.