Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is the most common type of arthritis in kids and teens. It typically causes joint pain and inflammation in the hands, knees, ankles, elbows and/or wrists. But, it may affect other body parts too. JIA used to be called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA), but the name changed because it is not a kid version of the adult disease. The term “juvenile arthritis” is used to describe all the joint conditions that affects kids and teens, including JIA. JIA types are autoimmune or auto inflammatory diseases. That means the immune system, which is supposed to fight invaders like germs and viruses, gets confused and attacks the body’s cells and tissues. This causes the body to release inflammatory chemicals that attack the synovium (tissue lining around a joint). It produces fluid that cushions joints and helps them move smoothly. An inflamed synovia may make a joint feel painful or tender, look red or swollen or difficult to move. The word “idiopathic” means unknown and researchers aren’t sure why kids develop JIA. They believe kids with JIA have certain genes that are activated by a virus, bacteria or other external factors. But there is no evidence that foods, toxins, allergies or lack of vitamins cause the disease.

 

 

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