1. It’s all about connections
“The leg bone connected to the knee bone, and the knee bone connected to the thigh bone … .” Remember that old song? Well, juvenile arthritis (JA) is a disease that affects those places where bones connect: the joints.
You have hundreds of joints in your body where different bones attach to each other. The joints most often affected by arthritis are knees, ankles and wrists. Arthritis can make your joints swell and hurt, and it also can affect other parts of your body.
One boy we know with arthritis, Sam L., had so much pain that he had to learn to walk three different times! But after trying different treatments, he’s now a happy kid who has played tee-ball and learned karate. There’s no cure for JA, but there are solutions that can help you live a happy, healthy life like Sam does.
2. Kids have a special kind of arthritis
The kind of arthritis you have is called “juvenile,” which means “young.” That’s because your joint disease is only diagnosed in children 18 years old and younger. (People who are older have a different kind of arthritis.)
Some kids get arthritis when they’re still toddlers, like Bevin T., or in kindergarten, like Scout F. Others don’t know they have arthritis until they’re a little older. Justin S. was diagnosed when he was 9. His face swelled up and he had knee and back pains and got rashes and fevers. “But I never let that stop me,” he says. “I just tried to figure out what I could and couldn’t do.”
Read 8 Ways JA Kids Are Special
3. You’re not alone
Nearly 300,000 kids in the United States have been diagnosed with JA. In fact, one in every 250 U.S. kids has this disease. That’s a lot of kids; more than the number who have diabetes but less than the number with ADHD. The good news is that you’re not alone. There are other kids to talk to about your JA.
“Just remember you're not alone in this fight against arthritis! Hold your head up high!” says Anna, who is 12. “There are many of us out there, sharing the same feelings. You are very strong and amazing!”
Meet Other kids With JA