Juvenile Arthritis: What Parents Need to Know

I’m so happy to have Kelly Rouba, author of Juvenile Arthritis:  The Ultimate Teen Guide, as a guest blogger today. Kelly, thanks!

I was diagnosed with a severe form of juvenile rheumatoid (now idiopathic) arthritis at the age of 2. Fortunately, I was diagnosed rather quickly after coming down with what appeared to be the flu followed by limping. However, many children aren’t so lucky, and it can take months before they are properly diagnosed.

One thing I want to stress is how important it is not to dismiss your child when they say they are in pain — even if the doctor brushes it off, which sometimes happens.

In the case of Amanda White (who is featured in my book), many doctors kept saying her pain was due to injuries from competitive ice skating. It took much persistence on her mother Diane’s part to finally find a doctor who acknowledged the fact Amanda’s pain wasn’t going away and was spreading throughout her body. Sadly, it took a year for Amanda to get diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

Several of the children or teens I interviewed had parents, like Diane, who knew something wasn’t right and who felt that their child’s pain was more than a temporary injury. However, some of the parents did dismiss their child’s complaints and forced them to continue pushing through activities of daily living. It’s important to remember that the sooner juvenile arthritis is diagnosed, the better. The disease needs to be halted as quickly as possible to prevent permanent damage. Quick facts:

·         Juvenile arthritis is an umbrella term for multiple forms of arthritis, ranging from Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis to Juvenile Spondyloarthropy.

·         The word “arthritis” comes from the Greek roots arthr and itis, meaning “joint” and “inflammation,” respectively.

Here are some symptoms to look for:*

·         Swollen and/or warm joints

·         Stiffness

·         Loss of normal range of motion

·         Joint or muscle pain

·         Rashes

·         High fevers

·         Fatigue

·         Weakness

·         Anemia

·         Skin conditions

·         Nodules (bumps under the skin)

·         Eye inflammation/conditions

*Diagnosing juvenile arthritis can be difficult because symptoms vary in each case. In fact, it is often misdiagnosed for this reason. Also, keep in mind, since there are several forms of juvenile arthritis, symptoms are slightly different from one type to the next.

To learn more about the types and symptoms of juvenile arthritis as well as available treatments and ways to manage or cope with the disease, visit my website.

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