(RxWiki News) Painful and achy joints aren't just for the elderly. Kids get arthritis too. And to create more awareness of this childhood condition, July has been designated as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month.
To show support, the Arthritis National Research Foundation encourages you to wear the Cure Arthritis bracelet available online or just to wear blue.
Supporters can also don a "Kids Get Arthritis Too" temporary tattoo.
"Check with a pediatric rheumatologist if fever and rash won't go away."
About 294,000 children have pediatric arthritis, which is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States. The condition appears in children as young as 6 months old.
As an autoimmune form of arthritis, juvenile arthritis happens when the immune system attacks a child's joints, causing redness, stiffness, swelling and sometimes permanent damage, according to the Arthritis National Research Foundation.
Along with other rheumatic conditions, juvenile arthritis has caused about 827,000 ambulatory care visits each year. Arthritis and related conditions in general have cost the US economy almost $128 billion in medical care and related expenses.
There are several kinds of juvenile arthritis: polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, pauciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis. The cause of most juvenile arthritis conditions is unknown.
Some forms affect girls more often than boys, while other forms affect both equally.
General symptoms include altered bone growth and damage to the cartilage between joints, as well as to the bones themselves. Other symptoms include eye inflammation, long-term fever and rash.
To treat the condition, children might have a combination of physical activity, therapy, education and medication as recommended by a pediatric rheumatologist.
Some treatment plans might also include eye care, dental care and proper nutrition.
If you are a teen with juvenile arthritis, the Arthritis Foundation encourages you to consider doing the following to manage your condition as you transition into adulthood:
- Keep track of your medical care and medications.
- See your doctors alone.
- Get involved in finding adult doctors.
- Make your own calls and send emails while checking in with parents about appointment times.