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Regular check-ups for JIA

Find out what happens during regular arthritis check-ups, how frequent they should be, and why it is important for you to attend all check-up appointments.

Key points

• Regular check-ups with the rheumatology team are important for monitoring symptoms and responses to medications.
• Try to coordinate multiple appointments on the same day to avoid missing school or activities.
• If you cannot attend a scheduled appointment, please phone the doctor’s office to reschedule.


It is important that you have regular check-ups with your rheumatology health-care team. This usually includes a rheumatologist, nurses, occupational therapist (OT) and/or phyiotherapist. These check-ups will help your doctor to see how the JIA is doing. It will also give you and your parents a chance to talk to the health-care team members.

What will happen at your regular check-ups?

Your doctor will examine your joints and ask you about any symptoms or difficulties you may have had since your last visit. Your doctor may ask about your activity level, school attendance, mood, energy level and sleep. You will also have the chance to speak with the nurse to ask any questions you might have. You may have the chance to see the physical therapist, occupational therapist or social worker, depending on your needs. You can ask them about any questions or concerns you have. Your health-care team may need to adjust your medical and therapy program. Depending on how the JIA has been doing, your doctor may request blood tests or imaging studies.

Why is it important to attend all your check-ups?

Occasionally, teenagers find it difficult to attend their rheumatology clinic visits.

They may feel that this interferes with other important things they are doing, such as school, work, sports or spending time with friends. However, regular rheumatology check-ups are very important.

This is regardless of whether you are feeling lots of pain or little pain. The doctor needs to monitor your response to medications and look for any possible side effects. Even if the JIA is in remission and you feel great, you should still go to your check-ups to let your doctor know how you are doing. The rheumatology visit is your chance to let the doctor and nurses know how you are doing, and to ask questions. After all, your doctor wants to see you in your good times too!

If you cannot attend a scheduled appointment, please phone the doctor’s office to reschedule. It is a nice, courteous thing to do. It will also free up some time for another teenager to have an appointment. Make sure to reschedule for another time though. Don’t just cancel and forget about the appointment altogether.

At your check-ups, you may have appointments with different members of the health-care team. You may be worried about this, as it means that you may miss school or other activities. Try and work with members of the health-care team to see if you can coordinate these visits on the same day. Some teenagers find it helpful to keep track of their appointments using a paper or electronic calendar.

 

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.