Juvenile arthritis aka, pediatric arthritis, affects nearly three hundred thousand young persons under the age of eighteen. Ambulatory care visits for pediatric arthritis and rheumatologic conditions averaged 827,000 annually, juvenile arthritis is one of the most common childhood diseases in the United States.
Symptoms for juvenile arthritis are the same as arthritis suffered by adults;
- Pain and inflammation of the joints
- Limited range of motion
- Joint contracture, results of holding painful joints in flexed positions
- Cartilage and joint damage, leading to the eventual deformity of the joint
- Stunted growth caused by altered bone growth
There are several types of juvenile arthritis:
- Polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) – typically affects five or more joints. This type of juvenile arthritis usually affects girls, and most commonly affects the knees, wrists and ankles. May also affect the hips, neck, shoulders and jaw, and usually affects the joints bilaterally.
- Pauciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) – affects typically four or fewer joints. Typically affects the knees, ankles or wrists, and generally affects unilaterally. Sometimes causes eye inflammation (uveitis), this occurs most often in young
girls who have positive anti-nuclear antibodies (ANA).
- Systemic onset juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) – or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) ” “ typically affects both sexes equally. Often causes very high fevers for days or months, light red rashes often develop on the chest, thighs and often other parts of the body. This type typically affects the small joints of the hands, wrists, knees and ankles.
- Juvenile Spondyloarthropies – including ankylosing spondylitis, seronegative enthesopathy and arthropathy syndrome. These are a group of diseases involving the spine and joints of the lower extremities, most commonly the hips and knees.
- Juvenile Psoriatic Arthritis – this type of arthritis affects girls and boys, usually occurs in association with the skin condition psoriasis.
- Juvenile Dermatomyositis ” “ this type of arthritis is an inflammatory disease, it causes muscle weakness and is characterized by a skin rash that affects the eyelids.
- Juvenile Systemic Lupus Erythematosus ” “ this is an autoimmune disease often associated with skin rashes, arthritis, pleurisy, kidney disease and neurologic movement.
- Juvenile Vasculitis ” “ this is an inflammation of the blood vessels, it can be both a primary childhood disease and a feature of other syndromes, some of these include dermatomyositis and systemic lupus erythematosus.