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Pediatr Rheumatol Online J. 2010 Jul 8;8:20. doi: 10.1186/1546-0096-8-20.

Burden of childhood-onset arthritis.

Author information

1
Robert Wood Johnson Medical School-UMDNJ, Dept, of Pediatrics Room 1361, 89 French Street, New Brunswick, NJ, USA. moorthln@umdnj.edu.

Abstract

Juvenile arthritis comprises a variety of chronic inflammatory diseases causing erosive arthritis in children, often progressing to disability. These children experience functional impairment due to joint and back pain, heel pain, swelling of joints and morning stiffness, contractures, pain, and anterior uveitis leading to blindness. As children who have juvenile arthritis reach adulthood, they face possible continuing disease activity, medication-associated morbidity, and life-long disability and risk for emotional and social dysfunction. In this article we will review the burden of juvenile arthritis for the patient and society and focus on the following areas: patient disability; visual outcome; other medical complications; physical activity; impact on HRQOL; emotional impact; pain and coping; ambulatory visits, hospitalizations and mortality; economic impact; burden on caregivers; transition issues; educational occupational outcomes, and sexuality.The extent of impact on the various aspects of the patients', families' and society's functioning is clear from the existing literature. Juvenile arthritis imposes a significant burden on different spheres of the patients', caregivers' and family's life. In addition, it imposes a societal burden of significant health care costs and utilization. Juvenile arthritis affects health-related quality of life, physical function and visual outcome of children and impacts functioning in school and home. Effective, well-designed and appropriately tailored interventions are required to improve transitioning to adult care, encourage future vocation/occupation, enhance school function and minimize burden on costs.

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