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The Daily Ardmoreite
Kids can get arthritis too. Learn about juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
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arthritis.org
By Health Minute
July 30, 2013 12:01 a.m.

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), sometimes called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile chronic arthritis, is a childhood disease that causes inflamed, swollen joints that are often stiff and painful. Symptoms common to all forms of JIA include joint pain, a disturbance in the way a child walks (abnormal gait), and joint stiffness that lasts longer than 1 hour in the morning.
The cause of JIA is not well-understood. Most experts believe it is caused by a combination of factors, including an overly active immune system.
There are several types of JIA. Each type is based on the number of joints affected during the first 6 months of active disease, whether the child has other symptoms, and which parts of the body are affected.
  • Oligoarticular JIA (oligoarthritis) is the most common type of JIA. In this type, 1 to 4 joints are affected in the first 6 months of the disease. If 4 or fewer joints continue to be affected, it is called persistent oligoarthritis. If more joints become affected after 6 months, it is called extended oligoarthritis.
  • Polyarticular JIA (polyarthritis) is the second most common type. Children with this type have 5 or more joints affected.
  • If an antibody called rheumatoid factor is present in the blood, the polyarthritis is rheumatoid factor-positive (RF-positive).
  • If the rheumatoid factor antibody is not present, the polyarthritis is rheumatoid factor-negative (RF-negative).
  • Systemic JIA can cause whole-body symptoms, such as fever and rash.
  • Enthestitis-related JIA can affect joints and also entheses (the areas where tendons and ligaments attach to the bones).
  • Psoriatic JIA can combine joint pain and swelling with a skin condition called psoriasis.
  • A few children are said to have unclassified JIA. This means that their symptoms and past health do not exactly match any of the other types of JIA.
  • Several types of JIA can also include serious eye inflammation.

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