Juvenile Arthritis: Kids get Arthritis too

If I randomly said the word “arthritis” to someone, they would most likely conjure up an image of a grandparent complaining about achy joints. I for one used to always think of grandma Petrillo from the Golden Girls and that awful, menthol, medicinal scent of  joint creams like icy hot. 

Most people don’t hear the word “arthritis” and think of a twenty something person like myself. Or worse yet, a small child. Did you know that there are approximately 300,000 kids in the US who have been diagnosed with some form of arthritis? In fact, there are lots of these kids who spend most of their childhood in and out of hospitals. Many of them occupy their summers healing from joint replacement surgery and spend what would be there after school playtime getting medical infusions at their doctor’s office.

There is no cure for arthritis just as there is no sound theory as to why people get the many forms of arthritis. Some evidence indicates that getting arthritis may be linked to hereditary causes while some research points to environmental factors. 

Wonderful organizations like the Arthritis National Research Foundation are working towards completely eliminating arthritis someday. The Arthritis National Research Foundation (ANRF) actually funds scientists to cure arthritis by discovering the causes of arthritis and its related diseases including osteoarthritis, juvenile arthritis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and other autoimmune diseases. In addition to funding scientific programs, this organization also runs community focused programs that help generate awareness for all of the different forms of arthritis like the ones that affect kids.

View the video below to meet a little girl named Bailey who is the ANRF’s hero. Children like Bailey give me the inspiration to keep writing and sharing the stories of everyone affected by arthritis.

God bless children like Bailey. Words cannot describe how much my heart goes out to this little girl and her family.


Arthritis – The Facts

Camp Jam 2010 - Lake Geneva, WI - Just a few (of the hundreds of thousands of) kids affected by arthritis.

Arthritis is a real problem in the US and this problem is only getting worse.  Despite this crisis affecting millions of people, WordPress.com failed to acknowledge “rheumatology” and “rheumatologist” as real words. Here are just a few of the facts about Arthritis.

  • Arthritis is the leading cause of disability in the United States.
  • Nearly one in five adult Americans suffer from arthritis. This equates to 46 million American adults.
  • Over 300,000 children also live with the pain, disability and emotional trauma caused by juvenile arthritis.
  • The burden of arthritis will continue to rise. By the year 2030, an estimated 67 million Americans will suffer from debilitating pain and limited mobility caused by arthritis.
  • 2/3 of Americans diagnosed with arthritis are under the age of 65.
  • Nine states do not have a single pediatric rheumatologist.
  • According to the CDC, the total costs attributable to arthritis and other rheumatic conditions in the US in 2003 was approximately $128 billion.
  • 9,500 people in the US died from arthritis in 2003.

You can help!  Write your members of Congress and request that they pass the Arthritis Prevention, Control and Cure Act of 2009. This act is detrimental to the arthritis community. When passed, it will help address the following.

  • Strengthen arthritis public health initiatives, allowing more people to be diagnosed early in order to avoid pain and permanent disability.
  • Expand the reach of evidence based self-management activities such as weight control and physical activity, which have been proven to reduce pain and reduce health care expenditures.
  • Establish a juvenile arthritis population database to better understand the disease in children and their treatment.
  • Enhance support for pediatric rheumatology training programs.
  • Establish a loan repayment program for pediatric rheumatologists to address the country’s severe shortage of these critical health professionals.