July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month


While many Americans believe arthritis is a condition that only affects older people, the reality is that nearly 300,000 children in America also receive a diagnosis of arthritis. To bring awareness to this condition, the Arthritis Foundation designated July as Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. With proper diagnosis and early treatment, serious and permanent damage to a child’s joints can be prevented, and they can go on to live an active, healthy life.

Juvenile arthritis (JA) is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children 16 years of age and younger. JA is a condition where the child’s immune system attacks the body’s joints. There is no known cause of JA and treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating. Advances in research continue to produce new treatments that assist in moderating and even stopping the effects of juvenile arthritis, which prevents significant disability in later years.

Because there is no cure for JA, complementary alternatives have proven successful in keeping the symptoms in remissions. These therapies include:

  • Diet modification
  • Acupuncture
  • Visiting a chiropractor
  • Exercise
  • Supplementation with omega-3, Vitamin D, magnesium and probiotics

JA often goes undiagnosed and unnoticed because parents may believe that pain in the joints is just “growing pains” and will soon be outgrown. However, it is known that joint pain, stiffness and swelling in and around the joint may be early signs of a serious, inflammatory rheumatic disease. If these symptoms occur in one or more of your child’s joints for at least six weeks, it is important to get a proper diagnosis from a pediatric arthritis specialist. If left untreated, JA can cause long-term damage to joint cartilage and bone, leading to joint deformity, impaired use and altered growth of bones and joints.

Methodist Hospital for Surgery offers a range of joint services. For more information, please call 469-248-3900 or visit www.MethodistHospitalforSurgery.com

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