Learn about childhood arthritis from AboutKidsHealth

This is a guest post from AboutKidsHealth.

AboutKidsHealth is sharing information on juvenile idiopathic arthritis and its effects on children’s health for Childhood Arthritis Awareness Month.

Arthritis is inflammation in the joints. Children and teenagers aged 16 or younger get a type of arthritis called juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), also sometimes called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). JIA affects about 10,000 (or 1 in 1,000) children and teenagers in Canada.

Symptoms of JIA include:

  • joint swelling

  • joint pain

  • stiffness (difficulty moving the joints)

  • fatigue (feeling tired all day long)

  • sleep difficulties

Symptoms can affect daily activities. They can make it hard to get dressed or go to school or work, to play sports and to do other fun activities. The good news is that almost all young people can manage their arthritis with medicines and other treatments.

JIA may impact your child’s growth, because inflammation can affect how the body grows. Depending on the number of joints that are affected, inflammation can cause rapid bone growth or, in severe cases, it may cause your child’s growth to be slow overall. 

JIA can also affect the eyes, sometimes resulting in eye conditions like glaucoma. Glaucoma occurs when the pressure inside the eye is too high. This can damage the optic nerve, which is the nerve that transmits messages from the eye to the brain. Glaucoma can lead to vision loss or even blindness if not treated. It’s important that children with JIA have regular eye exams, even when their JIA is under control.

Check out our JIA learning hub to learn more about JIA and its symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.

AboutKidsHealth is SickKids' health education website, which offers more than 3,500 articles, illustrations and videos on a range of paediatric health topics. For more information on childhood arthritis and other health topics, visit aboutkidshealth.ca