Juvenile arthritis is a ”now you feel it, and now you don’t” kind of disease. One of the more mysterious things about JA is that in some forms symptoms, like pain, swelling and fatigue come and go. It can be quite the roller coaster. If your arthritis has ever gone into remission and then flared up again, you know what we mean.
What is remission exactly? Your doctor will have to make the final call about whether you are “in remission” or not. Here what doctors look for:
• No joints with active swelling, pain, heat
• No fever, rash, or swelling of the tissues lining the lungs, heart, abdomen, or organs
• No enlargement of the spleen or lymph nodes
• No active uveitis, or inflammation of the eye
You can be in remission whether or not you’re on meds.
• On meds, six months without symptoms = remission
• Without meds, 12 months without symptoms = remission
A flare is when your arthritis symptoms suddenly get worse. What triggers a flare? It’s not entirely clear, but these are common causes:
• Intense physical activity
Another tricky part of having JA is that it doesn’t always show. You may look just fine on the outside but feel worn out and achy on the inside. So here’s what can happen. On days it takes you a long time to get your joints moving so you can brush your teeth, get dressed and all the other things you do to get ready for school. An extra-long warm shower or bath helps, but that. That might mean you are late to school. To your friends it just looks like you get to cut early morning classes for no visible reason.