July is recognized as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Awareness Month. Though arthritis is often considered an illness that is associated with old age, it is estimated that around 300,000 children in the US have some form of arthritis. The goal of the awareness month is to educate and inform the medical community and the broader public about the disease, which can have huge impacts on the lives of patients.
About Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a rare form of arthritis that primarily affects children and teens. While it is known that the disease is autoimmune in origin (meaning that the immune system begins to attack healthy tissue by mistake), what triggers the beginning of the autoimmune response is not known. Any disease considered “idiopathic” does not have an identified cause. Some risk factors for juvenile idiopathic arthritis include being female and a family history of the disease. Symptoms include limping, vague flu-like symptoms, fatigue, loss of appetite, swelling of the joints, joint pain and stiffness, growth problems, and eye inflammation. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis can also lead to complications such as vision problems, osteoporosis, joint deformities, and contractures. Treatment approaches often include physical therapy, NSAIDs, corticosteroids, and certain chemotherapy agents that suppress the immune system. Surgery may be necessary in severe cases. To learn more about juvenile idiopathic arthritis, click here.
How to Get Involved
The Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) provides a variety of ideas and resources for those who want to get involved in spreading awareness this month.
The foundation has partnered with Virtual Strides, who will be donating the proceeds from their featured race to help raise money for research. Want to participate in the race? Learn more about it here.
Are you a patient living with this disease? Then don’t hesitate to share your story on the social media platform of your choice. Don’t forget to use the hashtags #kidsgetarthritis and #curearthritis. You can also reach out to the ANRF to be featured in a story on their blog. Join the Cure Arthritis Crew as a dedicated voice for the disease community.
So what are you waiting for? Don’t hesitate to get involved.