Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month sheds light on issue

Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month sheds light on issue

TYLER (KYTX) - Arthritis in adults is quite common, but what about arthritis in children? July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness month. Juvenile arthritis is often mis-diagnosed as growing pains. While growing pains are often the case, it still may be a good idea to get your child checked out.

It's something many  people don't even know exists.

 "I've never heard of a child having arthritis only older people," said east Texas parent Jackie Silva.

The Arthritis Foundations wants to shed light on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis or JIA. 

Adult type arthritis typically develops from aging and wear and tear on the body, but not JIA
"In children JIA is a genetic problem they're born with that manifests as they grow," said St. Paul's Children's Hospital pediatrician Danny Price.

He said JIA can affect just a few joints or the entire body. Parents should look out for a consistent pattern of swelling and pain in the joints.
If a child has those long term symptoms, doctors can determine if a child has JIA through a blood test or exam.

"It really is often a diagnosis that's made clinically by a physician asking questions and doing an exam of joints," said Price.

Juvenile arthritis is pretty rare, only affecting about 13 in every 100,000 children. Typically affecting children ages 1-3 and 8-10. Price said it's hard to diagnose because people often pass off arthritis pains as growing pains in kids.

Tyler grandparent Ricky Contreras said his 3-year-old grandson has growing pains.

"In the middle of the night he'll wake up out of a dead sleep crying saying his legs hurt and he wants us to massage them," said Contreras.

Because the pains come at night, price said there most likely isn't anything to be too concerned with in that case.

"If the pain continues into the day, that' is not growing pains,that might be one of the things that would cause a parent to thing about arthritis or other significant joint problems," said Price.

Right now there are no cures for JIA, but early treatment can prevent more serious and permanent damage. 

Advances in research have produced new treatments that moderate and even stop the effects of JIA, which could possibly prevent significant disability in later years.



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