According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 1 in 5 adult Americans and 1 in 250 children suffer from some form of arthritis.
This complex family of musculoskeletal disorders consists of more than 100 different diseases or conditions that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage, and other connective tissues, hampering or halting physical movement.
Juvenile arthritis (JA), an umbrella term used to describe many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, develops in children ages 16 and younger. Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA), formerly called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) is considered the most common form of arthritis. Pediatric Rheumatologists also treat other rheumatic diseases in which arthritis is either the primary component or a symptom of the underlying disease, including Systemic Lupus Erythematosus (SLE), Dermatomyositis, Scleroderma, and Spondyloarthritis.
No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of juvenile arthritis nor is there evidence to suggest that toxins, foods or allergies cause children to develop the disease. Some research points toward a genetic predisposition, which means the combination of genes a child receives from family members may cause the onset of arthritis when triggered by other factors.
Treatment Unfortunately, there is no cure for juvenile arthritis. The goal of treatment for JA is to relieve inflammation, control pain and improve the child’s quality of life. Most treatment plans involve a combination of medication, physical activity, eye care and healthy eating.
Moving Forward The Arthritis Foundation leads the way in helping people with arthritis live better today and create better tomorrows through new treatments, better access and, ultimately, cures. This includes funding life-changing research that has restored mobility in patients for more than six decades, fighting for health care policies that improve the lives of the millions of Americans with arthritis and partnering with families to provide empowering programs and information.