The Month Ahead: Growing Up with Juvenile Arthritis

Patient Expert

You know very well what a struggle rheumatoid arthritis (RA) can be. The pain, the fatigue, the nausea, taking medications, seeing doctors, getting multiple injections. Now imagine being a child with that experience.

July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month. Here on HealthCentral`s RA site, we believe strongly in doing what we can to bring attention to the 300,000 children in the US who live with juvenile arthritis (JA). In past years, we have sent special correspondents to the Juvenile Arthritis Conference, worked with The Dr. Oz Show to bring information about juvenile arthritis to the show’s audience, and supported the community with information about different types of JA.

Our big focus this year is a group that faces a unique challenge: young adults with JA transitioning into adulthood.

Making the shift from childhood to being an adult is difficult for any individual. Learning to be responsible for yourself and living life as a grown-up is a steep learning curve. Add to that the many challenges of living with a chronic autoimmune disease and the load can become difficult to carry. Our goal is to help lighten the load for the young men and women who are facing this situation. We`ll do that not just this month, but in the future, as well.

We’ll start with two important issues facing young adults: relationships and work. As Leslie has just graduated with her master's in Health Advocacy, she will be writing about working with arthritis.

Britt and I both grew up with juvenile arthritis and we are tackling the issue of relationships from different angles. Britt will explore how to figure out relationships and intimacy, both with friends and lovers, and I will look at dating with JA.

Ah, the twittering of birds… the aroma of barbecue... the taste of fresh fruit and vegetables from the farmer's market… the feel of bare feet in sandals. It’s finally summer(ish) here in the Northern hemisphere and we all look forward to making the most of the season.

This is the season for taking time off and enjoying long, lazy days. Alas, RA comes with you, whether it’s on a road trip or puttering in the backyard. This month, we’re also talking about how to make this season more enjoyable. Marianna will kick things off by giving you tips on how to enjoy summer activities when you have RA.

Ask any person with RA and they’re likely to tell you they prefer the summer season with its warmer temperatures and more steady weather patterns. Is there any truth to the old adage of people with arthritis being affected by weather? Leslie will take a look at weather and RA. Which is just in time, because with the warmer weather, many people enjoy eating alfresco. Vanessa is going to prepare a picnic and share some easy recipes.

We look forward to hearing your stories about summer and RA, as well as talking to our JA readers You can tell your story in a SharePost, ask a question in the Q&A area, and chat with us and the community on our Facebook page.