Many Canadian children with arthritis wait too long before seeing a specialist
TORONTO, March 1, 2012 /PRNewswire/ – The majority of Canadian children with
juvenile arthritis are not seeing a specialist within the suggested
timeframe for early, effective care, according to a report prepared for
The Arthritis Society. The report, authored by The Canadian Alliance of
Pediatric Rheumatology Investigators (CAPRI), found that children with
this chronic disease will see at least three health practitioners and
wait four to five months after their symptoms begin before being
correctly diagnosed and receiving optimal care from a multidisciplinary
childhood arthritis centre.
The report suggests that for children with arthritis, longer delays
before being diagnosed by a pediatric rheumatologist result in greater
disability and poorer quality of life early in the disease course.
Current research is examining the longer term impact of delays in
receiving contemporary pediatric rheumatology specialty care.
“We know from past research and experience in caring for children with
arthritis and their families that the impact of this condition is often
life-changing and far-reaching,” says Dr. Lori Tucker, Clinical
Associate Professor in Pediatrics, Pediatric Rheumatology, BC
Children’s Hospital and University of British Columbia. “The fact that
there are significant delays before children with arthritis are seen by
a pediatric rheumatology specialist may be related to the overall lack
of awareness and knowledge of this condition.”
March is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and The Arthritis Society
is reaching out to educate Canadians about the realities of living with
juvenile arthritis (JA). Arthritis is considered by many to be a
disease that only affects the elderly – however, JA is one of the most
common chronic diseases among children in Canada, affecting one in
1,000 children under the age of 16.
“Considering that children’s arthritis is a major children’s health
issue, we are using Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month to urge
Canadians to take notice,” says Steven McNair, President and CEO of The
Arthritis Society. ”The debilitating pain experienced by thousands of
Canadian children with arthritis should not be ignored and it’s our
duty to shed light on the urgency of early diagnosis and treatment.”
Juvenile arthritis is defined as continuous inflammation of one or more
joints lasting at least six weeks for which no other cause can be found
in a child age 16 or younger. Symptoms of JA include joint pain,
morning stiffness, joint swelling and problems with mobility. These
symptoms interfere with regular activities, such as being physically
active, playing with friends and going to school.
While there is still no cure for juvenile arthritis, there are
medications that can reduce the inflammation and relieve the pain and
swelling. Involvement of trained physiotherapists and occupational
therapists, and support from the pediatric rheumatology team, help
children with arthritis participate in normal activities.
With proper treatment, most children will enter adulthood without major
physical disability. Contemporary treatment for juvenile arthritis
ranges from oral medications to injectable medications, and requires
regular medical follow-up, physiotherapy and laboratory testing.
Children do not grow out of their arthritis; approximately 60 per cent
of children will continue to have arthritis or live with its
after-effects into adulthood.
Research funded by The Arthritis Society has helped children with
juvenile arthritis lead more active, fulfilling lives and highlights
the impact of donor dollars. Further investments in research will
broaden our understanding of the disease, improve treatments and,
ultimately, find a cure.
Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month Activities
Social Media Events
As part of its Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month activities, The
Society will be conducting social media events via Facebook every week
during March. The events, which will involve the participation of
leading pediatric rheumatologists and individuals with JA and their
parents, will encourage online conversations about juvenile arthritis. For details about event dates and times, please visit www.childrensarthritis.ca.
“KNOW JA Video Contest”
The Arthritis Society will be holding a youth video contest during
March. The objective of the contest is to put a “face” on juvenile
arthritis by engaging youth with arthritis to share their stories. For
details and contest rules, please visit www.childrensarthritis.ca.
About The Arthritis Society
The Arthritis Society is Canada’s principal arthritis health charity
empowering the nearly 4.5 million Canadians with arthritis to live
their lives to the fullest by combating the daily limitations of
arthritis. In the last 60 years, The Society has invested more than
$175 million in arthritis research to develop better treatments and,
ultimately, find a cure.
SOURCE Arthritis Society
Video with caption: “Video – Most people think arthritis only affects the elderly, but did you know that
one in 1,000 children in Canada have juvenile arthritis?
March is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month and The Arthritis Society has
created this PSA to raise awareness of this chronic illness affecting boys
and girls under the age of 16.”. Video available at: http://www.youtube.com/v/KFBKiIA7qRo?version=3&hl=en_US
Image with caption: “Lindsay Junkin, 25, was diagnosed with juvenile arthritis at the age of two. Throughout her youth, the disease caused much pain and disability. It is through The Arthritis Society that she has found her greatest platform and from there has been able to reach out to the community by giving arthritis presentations and by connecting with many of those who are influential in changing the future for those diagnosed with this disease. (CNW Group/Arthritis Society)”. Image available at: http://photos.newswire.ca/images/download/20120301_C8523_PHOTO_EN_10604.jpg
PDF with caption: “Childhood arthritis: facts and statistics”. PDF available at: http://stream1.newswire.ca/media/2012/03/01/20120301_C8523_DOC_EN_10612.pdf