Pain in Your Joints? You May Have Juvenile Arthritis

Pain in Your Joints? You May Have Juvenile Arthritis

BY SANDRA GUY

Arthritis knows no age.

In fact, people with arthritis, including those who’ve suffered with the autoimmune disease since infancy or young adulthood, work tirelessly to heighten awareness that arthritis can affect anyone.

Their efforts come to the fore in July — Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month.

Juvenile arthritis describes a group of conditions in children that involves joint pain, swelling, tenderness, warmth, and stiffness. Most forms of juvenile arthritis are autoimmune disorders, which means that the body’s immune system—which normally helps to fight off bacteria or viruses—mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells and tissues.

Arthritis has no cure, but medicines can help put it into remission.

The key to controlling arthritis of any kind is to see a doctor as quickly as possible after noticing any signs of pain, stiffness, or a red and swollen joint, experts say.

That’s because arthritis sufferers can get severe joint deformity, loss of joint motion and, in extreme cases, require joint replacements, if they fail to get timely treatment.

Though people who have diabetes or an increased metabolic index may be at greater risk because they’re “in a pro-inflammatory state,” and arthritis reflects an overactive immune system, no specific diet has been proven to stave off or treat arthritis.

Hopeful research shows progress in using ultrasound to biopsy tissue in patients’ wrists, knee, elbow or other inflamed joint.

TYPES OF ARTHRITIS

• Juvenile Idiopathic arthritis. Nearly 300,000 children nationwide – from infants to teenagers – have some form of arthritis. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common type of arthritis in children. The term idiopathic means of unknown origin.

• Osteoarthritis. Often called the wear-and-tear disease, osteoarthritis develops over time due to a breakdown of joint cartilage, the hard tissue at the end of bones that form a joint. Cartilage serves as a shock absorber for joints. When it wears away, bones grind on bones, and the result is pain, stiffness, swelling and loss of joint function. Twenty-seven million Americans have symptoms of osteoarthritis involving one or more joints.

• Rheumatoid arthritis. Another 1.5 million or more people in the United States suffer from rheumatoid arthritis – the second most common form of arthritis.

More details can be found on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention website at https://www.cdc.gov/arthritis/index.htm

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