Arthritis is the leading cause of disability for people ages 14 to 44. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, or JIA for short, is the most common form of arthritis in kids. It affects about 200,000 children in the US alone. It usually begins between 6 months and 4 years old. Symptoms include being tired often, swollen joints, and not being able to move as quickly as usual. If your child has been diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic arthritic, you know how difficult this can be for the whole family. JIA is a type of autoimmune arthritis that mostly affects children age four to sixteen. It is the result of a disordered immune system attacking healthy cells and tissues in the joints. JIA can cause inflammation of one or more joints, different types of joint pain, and swelling. If your child has JIA, it is important for them to stay active and maintain their usual activities as much as possible; it may help them live more comfortably with their disease. With time and committed care from you and your doctor, your child with JIA should live well into adulthood.
How can I help my child with juvenile arthritis?
The most effective way to help your child deal with JIA is to manage the disease as early as possible. Early diagnosis and treatment of the condition can lead to long-term remission, meaning that your child may not require further treatment for several years. The sooner you take action once signs of JIA appear, the better. While there is no cure for JIA, there are treatments available for managing symptoms such as joint pain and inflammation. As a parent, it’s important that you be involved in your child’s care; your support will be critical to helping them stay engaged in their treatment plan and reducing their stress levels.
How do you deal with JIA?
Do’s and Don’ts Treating JIA:
Some things you can do to help your child live more comfortably with JIA include the following:
- Take note of the symptoms and seek medical attention as soon as possible. If you notice one or more of the following symptoms in your child, take them to a doctor immediately: Joint pain Unlikely to move or use a limb Swelling in joints Stiffness when they get up Increased temperature (fever) Fatigue Itchy skin
- If your physician diagnoses JIA, start treatment right away. Rheumatoid arthritis may develop if treatment is delayed for a long period of time. Stay positive and hopeful. The disease can be managed with the right treatment plan.
- Monitor your child’s pain levels and watch out for any new symptoms. If you notice any changes in their condition, make an appointment to see their physician as soon as possible.
Don’ts For Dealing with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis:
- Don’t feel discouraged if your child is in a flare-up or relapse; most kids with JIA will experience them throughout the course of their disease.
- Follow your physician’s instructions and care plan carefully.
- Get involved in your child’s treatment and care.
- Support your child as they learn to manage their disease. It will be stressful for them, so it’s important to make sure they are able to express themselves and share their feelings with you.
- If possible, engage in fun activities that allow your child to move around freely. This can help keep them active and reduce joint pain.
- Encourage your child to eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, protein, and nutritional supplements if necessary.
- Educate yourself about JIA, and be prepared to answer questions that other caregivers may have.
The pain of JIA is related to the type and severity of the disease, learn all about what causes JIA, what are the symptoms and how juvenile idiopathic arthritis can be treated?