Not just for the elderly

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Arthritis doesn’t just affect the elderly. JIA means Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis and around 1 in 100 children in Britain have it and hundreds more are affected by it, but hardly anyone knows about it. JIA isn’t “cured”; it is controlled. Most children grow out of it but about a third have to carry on the treatment for the rest of their lives.

Arthritis is the inflammation of joints. The bones in a joint aren’t supposed to touch but with arthritis the joints grind together causing great pain. In some extreme cases people have been bedridden because of the amount of pain they get when trying to move.

JIA can be controlled in many different ways. One of the most common is a weaker version of the drug used to kill cancer cells called methotrexate. This can involve a weekly injection administered by either a guardian or nurse at their local GP.

There are many side effects to taking this drug. The main one is that the user’s immune system is a lot weaker. If they were to get chicken pox while on this drug they would have to be hospitalized and put on an anti-viral drip until the virus is out of their system.

An eighteen-year-old woman from Ingoldmells was diagnosed as having JIA when she was very young. In her early teens she decided she didn’t need her medication anymore. This was a bad decision and she suffered greatly as a consequence before returning to the medication. With help from her friends and family, who supported her throughout the tough times, she took up jogging and will be running the London Marathon this year!

This Bupa website provides more information:

Claire, Year 9, Queen Elizabeth’s Grammar, Alford