July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, a month dedicated to increase awareness about early signs and symptoms of juvenile arthritis and to ease the focus of resources for this battle. The campaign was initiated by the Arthritis Foundation and targets a condition that currently affects 300,000 children nationwide, making it one of the most common childhood diseases in the US.
Arthritis is a complex family of disorders that destroy joints, bones, muscles, cartilage and other connective tissues. We usually associate arthritis with being old, but the truth is this condition can affect even from a young age, thus being called juvenile arthritis. The term can be used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in children under the age of 16 and affect physical movement.
The word “arthritis” means joint inflammation in Latin, but juvenile arthritis can include eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract as affected areas. The disorder has a large variety in forms and researchers and doctors alike are working to better understand what the key differences are and how different approaches can help.
Everyone can help in the fight against arthritis and the awareness month is the best opportunity for efforts to be joined in a louder and more coherent voice. E-advocacy can be a very powerful weapon and the key to success in changing government policies and funding. E-Advocates speak out their opinions and personal stories and are able to write to their elected officials in order to showcase the full magnitude of the situation. Problems of individuals become problems of the community and have a higher chance of being treated with concern.