Childhood arthritis

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Childhood arthritis
Other namesJuvenile arthritis
SpecialtyRheumatology Edit this on Wikidata

Childhood arthritis, is any form of chronic arthritis or chronic arthritis-related conditions which affects individuals under the age of 16. It is an autoimmune disease.


Three types of juvenile arthritis exist—juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), and juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), of which JRA is the most common.[1]

JRA again can be divided into three main forms: The classification is based upon symptoms, number of joints involved and the presence of certain antibodies in the blood.[2][3]

  1. Polyarticular arthritis is the first type of arthritis, which affects about 30–40% of children with arthritis and is more common in girls than boys.[2][3][1][4] Typically five or more joints are affected (usually smaller joints such as the hands and feet but many also affect the hips, neck, shoulders and jaw).[2][1]
  2. Oligoarticular (aka pauciarticular) arthritis can be early or late onset and is the second type of arthritis, affecting about 50% of children with juvenile arthritis.[2][3][1] This type affects fewer than four joints (usually the large joints such as knees, ankles or wrists) and may cause eye inflammation in girls with positive anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA).[2][3] Girls younger than eight are more likely to develop this type of arthritis.[3]
  3. Systemic disease is the least common form, with 10–20% of children (boys and girls equally) being affected with limited movement, swelling and pain in at least one joint.[2][1] A common symptom of this type is a high, spiking fever of 103 °F (39.4 °C) or higher, lasting for weeks or months, and a rash of pale red spots on the chest, thighs or other parts of the body may be visible.[2]


In most cases, juvenile arthritis is caused by the body attacking its own healthy cells and tissues, i.e. autoimmunity, causing the joint to become inflamed and stiff.[3] Once the joint has become inflamed and stiff, damage is done to the joint and the growth of the joint may by changed or impaired.[3]


Early diagnosis and treatment by a paediatric rheumatologist or a rheumatologist can help manage inflammation, relieve pain, and prevent joint damage.[2][3] Careful examination, laboratory tests (blood and urine), and various forms of imaging like X-rays may be some of the tests conducted by a doctor.[2][3]


Juvenile arthritis, also known as Childhood arthritis (JA) is any form of chronic arthritis or arthritis-related conditions which affects individuals under the age of 16.[2] Juvenile arthritis is a chronic autoimmune disease.[2]


The treatment of juvenile arthritis includes medications, physical therapy, splints and in severe cases surgery.[3] Methotrexate is commonly prescribed to children with juvenile arthritis.[5] These treatments are focused on reducing swelling, relieving pain and maintaining full movement of joints.[2] Children are encouraged to be involved in extra-curricular activities, physical activity when possible, and to live a "normal" life.[2][4]


In the US it affects about 250,000-294,000 children and teens making it one of the most common childhood diseases.[3]


  1. ^ a b c d e Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. (2011). Arthritis. Retrieved March 20, 2012, from Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m Arthritis Foundation. (2012). Juvenile Arthritis Face Sheet. Retrieved March 21, 2012, from Arthritis Foundation: "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2012-03-07. Retrieved 2012-03-22.CS1 maint: Archived copy as title (link)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons. (2012). Orthoinfo. Retrieved March 21, 2012, from American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons:
  4. ^ a b American College of Rheumatology. (2011). Practice Management. Retrieved March 20, 2012, from American College of Rheumatology:
  5. ^ Takken, Tim; van der Net, Janjaap J; Helders, Paul PJM (2001-10-23). "Methotrexate for treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis". Cochrane Database of Systematic Reviews. doi:10.1002/14651858.cd003129. ISSN 1465-1858.

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