SAN ANTONIO – During the month of July, doctors and those living with Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis are bringing awareness to the disease.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis, also known as JA, causes the immune system to become overactive and cause damage to the body. The most common area would be the joints.
Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis can also damage your heart, lungs, eyes, kidneys and skin and children as young as infants can suffer from arthritis.
Dr. Thomas Rennie with Rhuemotology Associates of South Texas wants to make sure parents know what to look for when it comes to arthritis in young children.
“These young children are going to have the joint pain and swelling. One of the main things to look for is stiffness in the morning when they get out of bed. If it takes them one or two hours doing their normal activities, that could suggest inflammatory arthritis,” Rennie said.
Chloe Kiest, 17, started experiencing symptoms of arthritis when she was just six years-old. Her mom noticed one day when she was playing soccer that her running was off.
Then one morning, Chloe woke up with a knee twice the size of her other.
Since being diagnosed, Chloe has been on several different medications and has learned to adjust her life around her juvenile arthritis.
“One big thing for me, I need access to the school elevators. Sometimes I need to leave class early or have exceptions for the late bell so im not counted as tardy. And also my teachers need to generally know when it comes to physical activity, I can’t go as full out as my other classmates,” Kiest said.
Kiest says she has been able to manage her arthritis with the help of her family, doctors and friends.
To learn more about juvenile arthritis and find available resources, you can visit the Arthritis Foundation’s website by clicking here.