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Although arthritis is a condition that’s commonly associated with older adults, it can also affect children and young people. Most forms of childhood arthritis are known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), which causes pain and inflammation in one or more joints for a period of six weeks or more. Although the exact cause of this type of arthritis is unknown, the symptoms do tend to improve as children gets older, enabling most of them to lead a normal life. However, in some more serious cases, children and young adults are diagnosed with osteoarthritis or rheumatoid arthritis, conditions which are most often found in older people but can also affect the young. For children and young people who are living with arthritis, managing the symptoms and pain is absolutely essential in order to be able to live a normal life. If you have a child, teen or older child who has been diagnosed with arthritis at a young age, here are some things that you can do in order to help them.

Healthy Eating

Visit any specialist pain treatment centers, and they will tell you that eating a healthy, balanced diet should be one of the main priorities of anybody who is living with arthritis. For young adults or children who are suffering from arthritis, a healthy diet is absolutely essential for maintaining a healthy weight and giving the body all of the nutrients that it needs. For those with arthritis, it is even more essential to ensure that their diet consists of a variety of foods from each of the five main food groups: fruit and vegetables, proteins, dairy, starchy foods, and foods containing fat and sugar. For young people who are suffering with arthritis and are also overweight, losing weight can particularly help. Being overweight can put added pressure on the joints in the hips, knees, feet and ankles, which leads to further pain and sometimes mobility issues.

Exercise

Although many children and young people tend to be quite active, having arthritis can understandably slow them down. However, for those suffering with arthritis, being active as much as possible can actually help to reduce pain and make it easier to manage. Regular exercise can help to improve joint mobility and range of movement, boost energy, and reduce stiffness. Combined with a healthy, balanced diet, making sure that children and young people also participate in regular exercise when possible can make arthritis easier to live with. Exercises such as swimming and yoga can be particularly helpful for those with arthritis, as they help to improve joint flexibility and build strength.

Emotional Impact

The emotional impact of living with arthritis can be hard enough to deal with in adults, but for children and young people, it can often be even worse. Nobody expects to be diagnosed with arthritis at a young age; the condition itself is most often associated with middle-aged and older people. Because of this, it is not uncommon for young people and children to be affected emotionally when learning that they will need to deal with chronic pain for the rest of their lives. Speaking to a doctor about getting counseling or therapy to help sufferers to deal with the metal health effects of arthritis can be extremely helpful, and is definitely recommended for the long-term. There are also a number of natural therapies, for example relaxation therapy, aromatherapy, or even meditation which are reported to have good results when it comes to helping those with arthritis deal with both the physical and emotional symptoms.

Medication

If your child or teen is suffering from anxiety, you may want to consider asking for medication which will help them to deal with the pain. There are a range of painkiller medications, topical creams and more which are designed to lessen arthritic pain and make day-to-day life easier for the patient. Although most medications suitable for arthritis sufferers tend to be relatively safe, it is important to fully explore the options for a child or young person with a doctor as no medication is completely free of side effects and others may not be suitable for children. Although there are a range of over the counter medications which may be suitable for helping with arthritic pain, it’s vital to get professional advice before putting together a medication plan for a child or young person with arthritis.

Living with arthritis can be difficult at any age, but for children and young people, it can be particularly debilitating. If you have a child or young adult who is suffering from arthritis, it’s vital to understand how to best support them.

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