If you thought arthritis is a disease that only occurs with aging adults, you’re not alone. It’s time to get these juvenile arthritis facts straight so you have a better understanding of the ways this disease affects children.
While there are many similarities between arthritis in adults and the disease in children, we’ll also help you to understand a few differences. This becomes especially apparent in the way having juvenile arthritis (JA) influences the children’s’ social and academic lives.
Read on to get the facts about juvenile arthritis-the condition you didn’t even know existed!
Fact 1. More People Under the Age of 65 Have Arthritis than Over
First, let’s get the biggest misconception out of the way:
Most people believe that arthritis is related to old-age, but kids get arthritis, too! About 67% of arthritis cases occur in patients under the age of 65, and of this percentage, approximately 300,000 kids have arthritis or a similar condition. That means 1 out of every 250 children suffers from JA or related symptoms. This is significant and shines a light on the prevalence of the disease across age groups.
But what do we mean by a similar condition?
Fact 2. Juvenile Arthritis is Actually Not a Disease in Itself
Arthritis describes inflammation of joints, and there are many diseases that affect joints and the surrounding muscles or tendons. As a result, juvenile arthritis is more of a blanket term used to describe the different types of conditions that share similar symptoms like pain in joints or swelling and are defined by autoimmune issues and inflammation.
Despite the shared symptoms, each type of JA is unique and requires attention to certain complications.
We’ll cover a few of the most common types in the next section.
Fact 3. There are Multiple Types of Juvenile Arthritis
While the most common form of arthritis in today’s youth is Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (the name now preferred by health professionals around the world for a condition once referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis), there are many other types of diseases that are related by their causes and the symptoms they produce.
They range from inflammatory diseases like juvenile dermatomyositis and Kawasaki disease to autoimmune diseases like juvenile lupus. Some of them, like mixed connective tissue disease, even result in overlapping elements.
Whatever the usual symptoms might be, you may still not even know if your child has one of the forms of JA!
Fact 4. Hidden Arthritis Symptoms Can Exist
A child with JA may not overtly express any of the symptoms mentioned in the last few paragraphs, or your kid may try to hide them due to fear of being excluded from physical activities at school. In fact, you might have to do a bit of detective work to determine if your kid is suffering from something related to juvenile arthritis.
Look out for clues like difficulty performing normally simple motor tasks, stiffness when walking or when raising and moving arms, and greater-than-normal fatigue. Your child may also move more slowly or with less coordination, so be sure to pack them a healthy snack for arthritis pain if you notice these signs.
Fact 5. The Impact of Arthritis Can Be Different on Children than Adults
For this fact, we’re not really talking any longer about the physical symptoms but about the impact that living with one of these diseases can have on a child. These differences may not be something an adult considers immediately, but just think about it:
A child with juvenile arthritis may not be able to participate in physical activities at school. The symptoms may cause them to feel tired and irritable, affecting schoolwork and behavior. Because of these factors, the student may begin to feel isolated and often shy away from participating in activities that involve movement.
Strangely enough, irritability and frustration may result from a lack of symptoms:
Unpredictability is a defining characteristic for these conditions, so you can imagine the toll it would take on a child’s patience if one day they’re able to run and play, and the next they are in pain and can barely move.
Just remember that arthritis impacts areas of life beyond the immediate symptoms related to the body, especially at a young age when high energy and ease of movement are supposed to be the norm.
Final Word: Finding Relief for Your Child’s Juvenile Arthritis
It’s tough to watch a loved one suffer from any type of arthritis or related condition at any age, but it’s especially saddening when our young children have juvenile arthritis.
Unfortunately, treatment often results in uncomfortable and embarrassing side-effects, like an upset stomach when taking nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) or changes to their appearance (i.e. moon-face). These can have further negative impacts on your child’s self-esteem and social life.
Luckily, studies have shown that Omega-3 fatty acids and other beneficial nutrients-like those found in the Green Lipped Mussels and New Zealand Olive Oil used in GLX3 supplements-combine to help as a natural and beneficial ‘add-on therapy to conventional treatment of juvenile idiopathic arthritis’.
This means less distress for your young one and more control over their juvenile arthritis!
We hope these juvenile arthritis facts have given you a better understanding of this disease and related conditions, as well as ways to cope with it. At GLX3, we take pride in helping individuals of all ages maintain their active lifestyle in a healthy and natural way!