After watching a recent segment on 60 Minutes about undiagnosed illnesses, I became extremely interested in juvenile arthritis and how arthritis affects children under the age of 16.
From the information researched, juvenile arthritis is more prevalent than you think.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, “Juvenile arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States and approximately 294,000 children under the age of 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions.”
Symptoms of juvenile arthritis may include:
• Altered growth of bone and joints leading to short stature
• Joint contracture, resulting from holding a painful joint in a flexed position for an extended period
• Pain, swelling, tenderness and stiffness of joints, causing limited range of motion
• Damage to joint cartilage and bone leading to joint deformity and impaired use of the joint
There are several types of juvenile arthritis. According to Arthritis Today magazine these types of JA include:
• Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA)
• Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis
According to Arthritis Today Magazine, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) was once the most common term used to diagnose juvenile arthritis. Also, the magazine stated, “It’s believed that only about 10 percent of children have a disease that closely mirrors rheumatoid arthritis in adults.”
Today, medical experts have reclassified JRA with the name Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis which is also known as JIA.
The magazine continues to clarify the definition of polyarthritis and pauciarticular arthritis, “Children with arthritis in relatively few joints, four or less, were described as having pauciarticular arthritis. Children with a larger number of involved joints were diagnosed with the polyarticular form.”
A diagnosis for juvenile arthritis is determined by “the number of joints affected during those first six months.”
Juvenile arthritis is not contagious and there is no scientific evidence that allergies, toxins or food play a role on the onset of the disease.