It’s Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month

In July, the Arthritis Foundation aims to increase awareness and educate people on the early signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis. More than 300,000 children are affected by the disease.

What is JA?

This arthritis.org article says JA describes the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children ages 16 and younger. There is no known cause for juvenile arthritis. Some researchers believe it’s caused by genes triggered by outside factors.

Who does JA affect?

Juvenile Arthritis affects more children than both juvenile diabetes and cystic fibrosis combined. The Arthritis Foundation educates and researches the disease, as well as provides resources for families affected by the disease.

Is there a cure for JA?

There is no cure, however, there are treatments that can relieve inflammation and control pain. Most treatments combine medication and lifestyle changes.

What’s it  like to live with JA?

This Everyday Health article gives some insight into what it’s like to live with JA. At the age of 2, Jennifer Wescott was diagnosed with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. When she was 10, her rheumatoid arthritis started damaging her spirit. She grew up feeling inadequate because of the disease. “Kids make fun of you, and that reduces your self-esteem,” she said. By 22, Jennifer went to college. That’s when her life turned around. She had to do things for herself.  She became pregnant at 30 and had difficulty caring for her child. Wescott says she keeps her head up and works as a substitute teacher and a caregiver for her son, Logan. “I always said you have two choices – you can curl up in the corner and waste your life away or get out there and live the best life you can while you’re alive,” Wescott said.

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