The term Juvenile arthritis (JA) describes the different autoimmune and inflammatory arthritis in children (less than 16 years of age). Arthritis affects joints and the term “arthritis” literally means joint inflammation. Besides joints some type of JA can affect the eyes, skin and gastrointestinal tract as well.
Arthritis develops in approximately one child in every 1,000 in a given year (but most of them are mild) and about one child in every 10,000 will developsevere arthritis.
There are several different types of arthritis that can affect children.Many children develop acute inflammatory arthritis after a viral or bacterial infection. It may be quite severe for some time but the prognosis is good and it usually disappears within a few weeks or months. Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) or juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is the commonest type of JAthat persists for months or years at a time.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis causes symptoms such as persistent joint pain, swelling, stiffness and limitation of motion. Children with JIA can have remission and exacerbation of symptoms. The remission can last for months whereas some children can have persistent symptoms for the rest of their lives.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is classified based on the following criteria;
Based on these criteria JIA is classified as;
Many parents and caregivers tend to ignore symptoms of arthritis in children as they fail appreciate that arthritis can occur in children. Hence the childgoes on to experience the symptoms of arthritis for months or years before it is diagnosed and proper treatment is started. If yourchild has joint pain or any other problem related to the joints consult a doctor. Early and appropriate treatment can improve the condition and help the child to live and grow normally.
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