Kids Get Arthritis Too – a division of The Arthritis Foundation supports an average of 300,000 children and families with juvenile arthritis. The foundation comments on juvenile arthritis stating, “Juvenile arthritis actually is an umbrella term for a number of childhood diseases affecting the joints and musculoskeletal system.” The National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases defines juvenile arthritis (JA) as childhood arthritis causing joint stiffness, pain, and swelling. JA is an autoimmune disease, in which the body’s immune system attacks healthy tissues and cells mistaking them as foreign invaders. Extended damage by the immune system can lead to altered bone growth and joint deformities in children.
Common Types of Juvenile Arthritis Outlined by the Kids Get Arthritis Too Organization:
1. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA): This is the most common form of JA, manifesting before the age of 16 and affecting one or more joints in the body. Joint swelling averages for at least six weeks. Other manifestations include muscle tightening, bone damage, and altered growth.