About Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) is an auto-immune disease in which the immune system mistakenly attacks and destroys the joints of the body, rendering the sufferer immobile.

JRA can affect any joint.

JRA attacks and destroys the ligaments, muscles and cartilage of the joints causing painful inflammation and stiffness. Eventually the joints become useless. As the internal organs can also be severely damaged, skin disorders, and sadly the eye can be affected sometimes causing blindness. There is no cause, and currently no cure. Modern drugs aim to slow down the disease so that the joints and internal organs can have a longer life. But they do not always work, and the side-effects are not pleasant.

JRA causes inflammation of internal organs.

JRA can cause inflammation of the heart, lungs and/or kidneys. Instead of fighting common substances like bacteria and viruses, the immune system attacks healthy parts of the body. Internal inflammation can be deadly.

JRA is not widely known.

While 300,000 children in the U.S. are afflicted with juvenile rheumatic diseases, 12 states do not have pediatric rheumatologists.  And many more states have an extremely limited number of rheumatologists.  Children are often undiagnosed or families are forced to travel for treatment.

JRA is a lifelong battle of pain, emotional distress and loss of mobility.

There is little public understanding as many associate arthritis with growing old. JRA is not about getting old, it is an auto-immune disease that causes havoc on the body. Children, as young as 1 year old, may suffer from JRA. Once joints and organs are destroyed, they can not be repaired.Living with pain and not being able to play like healthy kids is a sad part of this disease and extends into adulthood. Children with JRA only know pain, intravenous drug therapies, surgeries and loss of mobility.

 


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