Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month
Dr Uttam Patwari, MS (Ortho)
Yes, you read it right! Like the conventional notion, Arthritis is not a ‘grandma’s ache and pain. Kids too can suffer from this disease. To show support those who are suffering from juvenile arthritis and to generate awareness on the disease every year the entire month of July is observed as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. Sponsored by the Arthritis Foundation the observation also focuses on upholding the need for a cure, and impel advocacy on behalf of kids suffering from juvenile arthritis.
In the United States itself, around 300,000 children are affected by Juvenile arthritis. Kids with JA suffer from diverse autoimmune forms of arthritis, including joint swelling, stiffness and permanent damage caused by the poor immune system. The colour blue is used to promote awareness about the disease.
A brief idea about the disease:
Juvenile arthritis is also known as a pediatric rheumatic disease. The term is used as an umbrella to illustrate the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. These pediatric rheumatic diseases can develop in kids under the age of 16. Usually, the diverse types of juvenile arthritis have common symptoms, like pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth. But worth mentioning that each type of JA has specific concerns and symptoms. A few types of juvenile arthritis affect the musculoskeletal system where the joint symptoms may be minor or nonexistent. Furthermore, eyes, the skin, muscles and gastrointestinal tract also get affected by this type of arthritis.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), Juvenile dermatomyositis, Juvenile lupus, Juvenile scleroderma, Kawasaki disease, mixed connective tissue disease, fibromyalgia are types of JA. Amid all these types Juvenile idiopathic arthritis or JIA is regarded as the most common form of arthritis which has subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated. Fibromyalgia is, on the other hand, is most common is girls who are rarely diagnosed before puberty. Chronic pain is one of its syndromes and this disease can cause stiffness and aching. Fatigue, disrupted sleep is amid its other associated symptoms.
Kawasaki disease causes blood-vessel inflammation which can end up in heart complications. Juvenile lupus, on the other hand, is an autoimmune disease that can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood or any other areas of the body. Juvenile scleroderma causes the skin to tighten and harden and Juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles, Causes, Diagnosis and Treatment
As per a few research, the cause of juvenile arthritis is associated with a genetic predisposition. But the cause of this disease is yet to find out with evidence. However, until now it is believed that the combination of genes the parents offer to the child may cause the onset of JA when it is prompted by other factors.
Diagnosis is an important aspect of the disease; an accurate diagnosis process may be long detailed. As there is not a single blood test affirms about having any type of JA, hence the way to diagnosis is a careful physical exam supported by a methodical medical history. A medical practitioner can, however, suggest any definite tests depending on the type of suspected JA.
The unfortunate factor is that JA is among those diseases which have no cure. The usual treatment modus encompasses medication, physical activity, eye care and apt diet. The treatment focuses on alleviating the inflammation or control pain and enhances the quality of life of the sufferers. If JA is diagnosed at a premature stage aggressive treatment can make it possible to decrease the disease.
Summing up it has to be mentioned that to create awareness of JA understanding the needs of families with juvenile arthritis is essential. Also, there should be a joint effort from the diverse sector of the society incusing the medical practitioners, to researchers to attain more knowledge about the ongoing research efforts to get clarity to about the diseases. The involvement of all the sectors as partners to seek a solution to prevent JA is vital at this point.
Besides, the children suffering from JA required to be taught about the importance of following the treatment prescribed by a medical professional. Self-care is the main way to decrease the effects of diseases. Also helping the child address the social effects and emotional aspect associated with the disease is a part should be carried with responsibility and care. The child also should be taught to make choices each day to live well and happy and healthy.