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Juvenile Arthritis

- Summary
- About juvenile arthritis
- Types and differences
- Risk factors and causes
- Signs and symptoms
- Diagnosis methods
- Treatment and prevention
- Questions for your doctor

Reviewed By:
Vikas Garg, M.D., MSA

Summary

Juvenile arthritis (JA) refers to numerous childhood conditions that involve joint pain and inflammation, usually persisting more than six weeks. Although many people consider arthritis a disease of adults, children can contract most forms of it. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is the most common type seen in children.

The cause of JA is not well understood. Most types are autoimmune diseases, which means the immune system mistakenly attacks normal tissues.

Anatomy of the spine includes the cervical spine, thoracic spine, lumbar spine and sacral region.JA may affect only a few joints, frequently the knee, ankle, hip, wrist, elbow or lower spine. Other types of JA affect many joints as well as other parts of the body. Many JA patients have inflammation in the eyes, which requires regular monitoring because it may not produce symptoms.

Physicians may use multiple blood tests and a physical examination to diagnose the various forms of JA. There is no known cure, but most children outgrow the symptoms when they reach adulthood.

Treatment depends upon the kind of arthritis and concentrates on pain relief and protection of growing joints. Drug treatment may include basic pain relievers or nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. Other drugs modify the disease progress or work on malfunctioning parts of the immune system. Exercise, physical therapy and occupational therapy may also be a part of treatment. Most children with JA are able to live healthy and active lives.

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Review Date: 10-02-2008
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