July is Juvenile Arthritis (JA) Awareness Month
Approximately 294,000 children under the age of 18 are affected by pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions, commonly referred to as juvenile arthritis. Juvenile arthritis – or JA – refers to any form of arthritis or arthritis-related conditions that develop in children or teenagers.
No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of JA, nor is there evidence to suggest that toxins, foods, or allergies cause children to develop the disease. Some research points toward a genetic predisposition, which means the combination of genes a child receives from their parents, may cause the onset of arthritis when triggered by other factors.
Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. The goal of treatment for JA is to relieve inflammation, control pain, and improve a child’s quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication and healthy eating, with an emphasis on physical activity.
July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. The goal of the health awareness month is to reach out to families and children affected by JA and highlight various treatment options. Most doctors recommend children with JA regularly engage in moderate physical activity. Exercise keeps joints flexible and strong, while maintaining optimum range of motion and minimizing stiffness.
While exercise may be painful, it is ultimately essential to a successful treatment plan. One way to get children diagnosed with JA exercising is to do activities the entire family can enjoy, so the child does not feel singled out. Activities that are low-impact, fun, and easy on a child’s joints include:
- Family walks
- Bike rides