Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
Pronounced: jew-va-nigh-el roo-MAH-toyd arth-RI-tisEn Español (Spanish Version)
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is a disease of the joints in children. It can effect a child over a long period of time. JRA often starts before the child is 16 years old.
In JRA, the joint to become red and swollen. It will make the joint painful and difficult to move. JRA can also lead to long term damage to the joint. For some, JRA can interfere with the child's growth and development.
There are five major types of JRA:
- Pauciarticular JRA—four or less joints are affected in the first 6 months of illness
- Polyarticular JRA—five or more joints are affected in the first 6 months of illness
- Enthesitis associated arthritis—there is also swelling of the tendon at the bone
- Psoriatic arthritis—associated with a skin disease called psoriasis
- Systemic onset JRA (also called Still’s disease)—affects the entire body, least common type of JRA
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JRA is caused by a problem of the immune system. The normal job of the immune system is to find and destroy items that should not be in the body, like viruses. With JRA, the immune system attacks the healthy tissue in the joint. It is not clear why this happens. The immune system problems may be caused by genetics and/or factors in the environment.
Last reviewedDecember 2014by Kari Kassir, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.