2023 Author: Anita Thornton | [email protected]. Last modified: 2023-11-27 18:44
July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month (JIA). How can we help young people understand and live better with this condition?
Arthritis is a non-discriminatory disease that can affect anyone, regardless of gender or age. In Canada alone, 24,000 children are affected.
According to the Arthritis Society, three out of every thousand children suffer from some form of arthritis: juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) being the most common form of the disease. A statistic that sends shivers down your spine. Although there are several forms of the disease, all of them can have dramatic effects on the body and the quality of life of children affected by this disease.
What is juvenile arthritis?
Juvenile arthritis is a so-called autoimmune disease that comes in several forms. It can affect several joints and be accompanied by different symptoms such as fever or skin rashes. In some cases, it can be systemic, which means that the inflammation spreads to different organs in the human body.
In all cases, for some unexplained reason, the immune system gets carried away and attacks the tissueshe althy, causing inflammation that affects one or more joints. The outbreaks, unpredictable and painful, last at least six weeks.
Effects and Consequences
In addition to the suffering and limitations imposed by the disease, retardation of growth is probably the greatest consequence of this systemic affliction. This delay, attributable to the disease, can be exacerbated by taking corticosteroids (drugs used to relieve pain).
When a child is diagnosed with JIA, despite the relief of being able to put a name to the symptoms, comes a lot of questions and uncertainties. Although juvenile arthritis is incurable, there are different solutions to control the pain and avoid permanent damage. How to soothe the child's anxieties and help him better understand his condition?
Resources to understand and live better with the disease
To help children and those around them better understand and live with their condition, the Arthritis Society offers several relevant resources: backpack program, camps summer and family day.
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