If your child has arthritis don’t despair because living with juvenile arthritis can be difficult for the child and you, but all is not lost.
If your child has arthritis don’t despair because living with juvenile arthritis can be difficult for the child and you, but all is not lost. Appropriate diagnosis, treatment and care can help children with juvenile arthritisto lead normal lives without significant limitations or difficulty. Read to know more on life expectancy and living with juvenile arthritis.
Life expectancy in juvenile arthritis: The life expectancy of a child with juvenile arthritis may be somewhat shorter than for the general population. However every child with juvenile arthritis doesn’t have a shortened life span. Juvenile arthritis itself is not a fatal disease but the complications of the disease and the treatment-related side effects can lead to premature death.
Living with juvenile arthritis: Juvenile arthritis is a life-long disease and there is no cure for it. Parents and children have to accept the disease and learn self-care techniques to limit the effects of juvenile arthritis.
Some self-care or home-care measures include;
- Exercise: Exercise is an essential element in complete treatment plan for juvenile arthritis. Ensure that your child does exercises regularly as it improves both muscle strength and joint flexibility. Swimming is considered good for children with arthritis as it places minimal stress on joints.
- Cold or heat treatment: Juvenile arthritis can cause stiffness of the joints particularly in the morning. Application of cold or hot pack can decrease stiffness and pain. Both are effective but most children prefer a hot pack or a hot bath or shower to cold pack.
- Eating healthy: Ensure that your child eats a balanced and healthy diet which includes whole grain food products, plenty of fruits and vegetables, lean proteins, and low-fat dairy products. A healthy and balanced diet can help to maintain them at an appropriate body weight. The child’s diet should have adequate calcium as they are at risk of developing weak bones (osteoporosis) as a result of the disease, use of corticosteroids, and limitation of physical activity and weight bearing.
Family members and caregivers have an important role in helping a child cope with juvenile arthritis. To help your child live as normal as possible try to follow the ensuing points;
- Don’t treat your child differently because of arthritis he needs to be treated just like other children in your family.
- Accept your child’s frustration and outburst about having juvenile arthritis. Explain that the disease cannot be cured but he or she can try to have a normal life.
- Let your child to participate in physical activities, and games but follow the doctor’s and physical therapist’s recommendations.
- Inform the child's teachers and school administrators about your child’s disease and work with them to make modifications as needed in his school schedule.
Arthritis can be a difficult disease to live with. But don’t let it affect your child’s mind even though he may have some physical limitations.Remember that appropriate treatment can improve the condition and help your child to live and grow normally.
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