How will JIA affect you?

Common symptoms of JIA

Young people with JIA have many common symptoms, including:

  • joint swelling
  • joint pain
  • stiffness (difficulty moving joints)
  • fatigue (feeling more tired than normal)
  • sleep difficulties.

Your symptoms can affect your daily activities. You may find it hard to get dressed, or go to school or work. It might be difficult to play sports and do other fun activities. Like many other young people with JIA, you might also feel isolated, helpless, or depressed.

JIA affects each person differently. You might not have all of these symptoms. Your symptoms may also vary in how much they affect you.

There are things you can do to reduce or limit how much these symptoms interfere with your everyday activities. In the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program, you will learn more about your symptoms and how to manage them. Learning strategies to manage your JIA will help you be more active and make you feel more positive.

How will JIA affect your future?

It is impossible for your doctor to really predict whether JIA will eventually go away, or whether you will have it as an adult. In general, in the pre-biologic era, about 50 % will have no active disease, 30% mild disease, and 20% will have persistent/recurrent arthritis as adult. However, in the biologic era, approximately only 30% of young people with JIA will require some form of therapy as adults. Also, the longer your disease remains active, the greater the risk that you will have joint damage.

The good news is that almost all young people with JIA can control their arthritis with medicines and other treatments. This means that you should be able to do all of the things you want to do. Your health-care team will monitor your JIA symptoms and work with you to keep your joints as healthy as possible.

Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.