UNDERSTANDING ARTHRITIS

Juvenile Arthritis

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What is Juvenile Arthritis?

Nearly 300,000 children have been diagnosed with some form of juvenile arthritis*

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), one form of juvenile arthritis, is actually quite prevalent, affecting more than 50,000 children in the United States alone. JIA is often referred to as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) in the United States. Other specific names and forms of juvenile arthritis include:

  • systemic onset JIA or Still’s disease
  • oligoarticular JIA (affecting fewer than 5 joints)
  • polyarticular JIA (affecting five or more joints)
  • enthesitis-related arthritis
  • juvenile psoriatic arthritis

 

When juvenile arthritis first shows its symptoms in a child’s body, many parents write off swollen joints and fever as a flu bug, or think that a sudden rash might have occurred from an allergic reaction. The symptoms might even recede slightly before showing up again, sometimes delaying diagnosis for quite some time. After all, who expects a small child to have arthritis?

Most people don’t know that kids get arthritis. A child’s immune system is not fully formed until about age 18; so an “autoimmune” form of arthritis is especially aggressive in children, compromising their ability fight normal diseases and leaving them open to complications that may affect their eyes, bone growth, etc.

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Juvenile Arthritis

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Signs and Symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis

  • Joint pain
  • Swelling
  • Fever
  • Stiffness
  • Rash
  • Fatigue (tiredness)
  • Loss of appetite
  • Inflammation of the eye
  • Difficulty with daily living activities such as walking, dressing and playing

What is Juvenile Arthritis and Why is JIA (Formerly JRSA) Different?

Different forms of arthritis have varying life spans and degrees of symptoms, but JIA is different – it’s an autoimmune disease that has the body warring with itself in its efforts to recover. While juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disorder (much like the adult version of rheumatoid arthritis), research shows JIA stands alone, independent in how it actually attacks and affects a child’s body.

 

Juvenile arthritis normally appears in children as young as six months old, and as old as 18. Young adults still suffer the pain of the juvenile forms of arthritis. Joint pain, reddened joints and swelling that simply refuses to dissipate are key symptoms. Rheumatologists are finding that the number of joints affected has a parallel connection to the severity of the disease and the likelihood of achieving total remission.

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