To show our support of the Arthritis Society of Canada and SickKids, we are providing information and helping to raise awareness about the most common type of arthritis among children—Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis!
What is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis?
Many people think that only older adults get arthritis. The truth is, arthritis can affect people of any age. When children and teenagers get arthritis, it is usually referred to as Juvenile Arthritis. The most common type of arthritis among children and teenagers is Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA). “Juvenile” means young (16 years of age or younger) and “idiopathic” means the cause is not known.
According to SickKids Hospital, Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) affects about 10,000 children and teenagers in Canada. It is also reported that four times as many girls as boys are diagnosed with JIA.
What types of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis affect children and teenagers?
There are different types of JIA that affect children and teenagers, including:
- Oligoarticular arthritis
- Polyarticular arthritis
- Systemic arthritis
- Enthesitis-related arthritis
- Psoriatic arthritis
In order to treat JIA, a child’s doctor needs to diagnose what type of JIA he/she has. The doctor will decide this based on:
- When the symptoms began
- How many joints are involved
- Changes in the JIA symptoms over the first six to twelve months
- Other tests such as blood tests and imaging scans
What effects will JIA have on a child/teenagers health?
Children and teenagers with JIA have many common symptoms, including:
- Joint swelling
- Joint pain
- Sleep difficulties
JIA affects each person differently. However, symptoms often affect a child’s ability to participate in common daily activities, which might lead to feelings of isolation, helplessness or depression.
Children or teenagers diagnosed with JIA should speak to their doctor about their treatment options. There are a variety of options that could be beneficial, including:
- Physical therapies such as exercise, physiotherapy, and occupational therapy
- Surgical options for complications related to JIA
- Complementary and alternative therapies.