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Lawyer Michael Avenatti arrested on a domestic violence charge. Also on the Thursday rundown: more testimony on the anti-protest bill; plus we will take you to the Dakotas to celebrate American Education Week.

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Juvenile Arthritis in ND: Early Diagnosis is Key

About 600 children in North Dakota have juvenile arthritis, which is the term used for a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Credit: David Amsler/Flickr.
About 600 children in North Dakota have juvenile arthritis, which is the term used for a variety of autoimmune and inflammatory conditions. Credit: David Amsler/Flickr.
July 13, 2015

BISMARCK, N.D. - July is Juvenile Arthritis Awareness Month, and while arthritis is most often associated with older adults, kids can also be affected.

Juvenile arthritis is not a disease itself, but an umbrella term used to describe the many autoimmune and inflammatory conditions that can develop in people under age 18.

Holly Miller, community development director with the Arthritis Foundation in North Dakota, says early diagnosis is key, but since there are so many forms of the disease that can be tricky.

"Say a child has ear infections over and over again for the first two years of their life, seldom is the initial diagnosis given as arthritis, when it might be," says Miller.

Nationwide, some 300,000 kids are affected, including about 600 in North Dakota.

While the various forms of Juvenile Diabetes share some commonalities, such as joint swelling, pain and stiffness, Miller explains each type has its own concerns and symptoms, so treatment options vary.

"A lot of it comes with awareness, education, to have the right medical personnel on your child's team trying to find whether it's medicine to assist in the pain management or adjusting their meals," she says. "What kind of food the children can take that will help."

No known cause has been pinpointed for most forms of juvenile arthritis, but research points toward a genetic predisposition.

John Michaelson, Public News Service - ND