Each year at this time, we commemorate the estimated 300,000 children and their families in the United States who face the everyday challenges of living with juvenile arthritis (JA) and related diseases. Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions or pediatric rheumatic diseases that can develop in children and teens.
The various types of juvenile arthritis share many common symptoms, like pain, joint swelling, redness and warmth, but each type of JA is distinct and has its own unique characteristics and how it affects the body.
Common Types of Juvenile Arthritis
Considered the most common form of childhood arthritis, JIA includes six subtypes: oligoarthritis, polyarthritis, systemic, enthesitis-related, juvenile psoriatic arthritis or undifferentiated.
An inflammatory disease, juvenile dermatomyositis causes muscle weakness and a skin rash on the eyelids and knuckles.
Lupus is an autoimmune disease. The most common form is systemic lupus erythematosus, or SLE. Lupus can affect the joints, skin, kidneys, blood and other parts of the body.
Scleroderma, which literally means “hard skin,” describes a group of conditions that can cause the skin to tighten and harden.
This disease causes blood vessel inflammation that can lead to heart complications.
This disease may include features of arthritis, lupus dermatomyositis and scleroderma, and is associated with very high levels of a particular antinuclear antibody called anti-RNP.
This chronic pain syndrome is an arthritis-related condition, which can cause stiffness and aching, along with fatigue, disrupted sleep and other symptoms. More common in girls, fibromyalgia is seldom diagnosed before puberty.
The Arthritis Foundation & Juvenile Arthritis
We have established juvenile arthritis as one of our four key organizational pillars because we recognize that the needs of these families are unique and pressing. We are proud of our leadership in funding JA research and all we do for the arthritis population.
The Arthritis Foundation has partnered with organizations like PCORI, PARTNERS and CARRA to create a more powerful research and advocacy community, leveraging the knowledge and skills of doctors, researchers and staff from all of these organizations to advance and accelerate the quest for new and better treatments – and ultimately to find a cure.
In addition to our advocacy efforts on state and national levels, the Arthritis Foundation hosts our annual JA Conference (held in Orlando later this month), runs JA camps around the country and provides JA Power Packs – free toolkits that contain useful information and resources to assist newly-diagnosed kids, teens and their families in more easily navigating their journey with JA.
The Arthritis Foundation is dedicated to standing alongside each and every family in the U.S. affected by juvenile arthritis and related pediatric rheumatic diseases – helping them learn how to conquer their illness from an early age and how to become a Champion of Yes for a lifetime. You can learn more about JA by visiting the Arthritis Foundation’s website dedicated to pediatric rheumatic diseases: KidsGetArthritisToo (www.kgat.org).