Updated on 29 April 2022
Juvenile arthritis in children refers to several different chronic disorders involving inflammation of joints (arthritis), which can cause:
The various forms of JIA have different features, such as the pattern of joints involved and inflammation of other parts of the body besides the joints. JIA may last a limited time, such as a few months or years, but in some cases it is a lifelong disease that requires treatment into adulthood.
With the right treatment, most children achieve periods of wellness and sometimes the disease goes away permanently with no further need for medications.
JIA begins in children and adolescents before their 16th birthday. Most types of the disease are more frequent in girls, but enthesitis-related JIA, a form of the disease that involves inflammation of the places where ligaments and tendons attach to bones, is more common in boys. Systemic JIA, a rare type of JIA that features fever and rash, affects boys and girls equally. Children of all ethnic backgrounds can get the disease.
Children with a family member with chronic arthritis, including JIA, are at a slightly increased risk of developing it. Having a family member with psoriasis is a risk factor for a form of JIA called psoriatic JIA.
It refers to a condition where the origins are not fully understood. While the exact causes of JIA are unknown, it begins when the immune system becomes overactive and creates inflammation.
Types of JIA
There are multiple types of JIA, each with distinct features. Namely,
Symptoms vary depending on the type, but all forms share
The pain may limit movement of the affected joint, although many children, especially younger ones, will not complain of pain. One of the earliest signs may be limping in the morning due to disease in one or both legs.
The symptoms of JIA go through cycles, flaring for a few weeks or months followed by periods when they go into remission. Some children have just one or two flares and never have symptoms again, while others have many flares or symptoms that never fully go away.
Besides joint problems, the inflammation associated with JIA can cause other symptoms, such as:
In JIA, the body’s immune system mistakenly attacks some of its own healthy cells and tissues. This results in inflammation, along with pain, swelling, warmth, and stiffness. Inflammation from JIA can damage the joints, eyes, or other affected organs.
It is not known why the immune system attacks healthy tissues in children with JIA, but a mix of genetics and environmental factors are certainly involved.
Scientists have identified some of the molecules TNF-alpha, IL-6, and IL-1—contribute to inflammation in some forms of the disease. This has led to new therapies that specifically target these molecules.
The goals of treatment are to:
Most children with JIA need a combination of medicines and a healthy lifestyle, including a balanced diet and exercise, to reach these goals. The specific treatment plan will depend on the child’s age, the type of JIA, and on other factors, such as disease severity.
Types of medications
Physical therapy can be an important part of JIA treatment. The doctor may recommend physical therapy to help:
Pain-reducing techniques can be taught to the child and a home exercise program can be developed.
CARE Hospitals, the best hospital for arthritis in Hyderabad provides comprehensive care for patients suffering from arthritis and rheumatism.
MBBS, MS Ortho (Gold Medalist), MCh (Ortho), FIJR, FISS, FIAS
Sr. Consultant & HOD- Orthopedics & Joint Replacement Surgery
CARE Hospitals, Visakhapatnam
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