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Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis
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Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis - (JRA) - Joint inflammation

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ARTHRITIS DISEASE

Joint Inflammation

JRA is the most common form of arthritis in children. It may be a mild condition that causes few problems over time, but it can be much more persistent and cause joint and tissue damage in other children. JRA can produce serious complications in more severe cases.

Arthritis is usually associated with adults. But children can be affected by almost all of the types of arthritis that adults can have. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) - a chronic condition causing joint inflammation for at least 6 weeks in a child 16 years of age or younger - is the most common type of arthritis in children. In most cases it's not a lifelong disorder, and the signs and symptoms fade after several months or years.

Still, JRA can be complicated. The term juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is actually an umbrella term for a group of conditions. The conditions are classified according to the number of joints affected, the signs and symptoms, and the results of blood tests. The main categories of JRA are:

  • Pauciarticular JRA. This affects four or fewer joints - typically larger joints such as the knees. This is the most common form of JRA.
  • Polyarticular JRA. This affects five or more joints - typically small joints, such as those in the hands and feet. Polyarticular JRA often affects the same joint on both sides of a child’s body.
  • Systemic JRA. Also known as Still's disease, systemic JRA affects many areas of the body, including joints and internal organs. This is the least common form of JRA.

Treatment focuses on ongoing physical activity to maintain full joint movement and strength.

Definition   

Arthritis involves inflammation of one or more joints and the breakdown of cartilage. Cartilage normally protects the joint, allowing for smooth movement. Cartilage also absorbs shock when pressure is placed on the joint, like when you walk or otherwise bear weight. Without the usual amount of cartilage, the bones rub together, causing pain, swelling, and stiffness.

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Causes, incidence, and risk factors   

You may have joint inflammation for a variety of reasons, including:

  • Broken bone
  • Infection (usually caused by bacteria or viruses)
  • An autoimmune disease (the body attacks itself because the immune system believes a body part is foreign)
  • General "wear and tear" on joints

Often, the inflammation goes away after the injury has healed, the disease is treated, or the infection has been cleared.

With some injuries and diseases, the inflammation does not go away or destruction results in long-term pain and deformity. When this happens, you have chronic arthritis. Osteoarthritis is the most common type and is more likely to occur as you age. You may feel it in any of your joints, but most commonly in your hips, knees or fingers. Risk factors for osteoarthritis include:

  • Being overweight
  • Previously injuring the affected joint
  • Using the affected joint in a repetitive action that puts stress on the joint (baseball players, ballet dancers, and construction workers are all at risk)

Arthritis can occur in men and women of all ages. About 37 million people in America have arthritis of some kind, which is almost 1 out of every 7 people.

Other types or cause of arthritis include:

  • Rheumatoid arthritis (in adults)
  • Juvenile Rheumatoid arthritis (in children)
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
  • gout
  • Scleroderma
  • Psoriatic arthritis
  • Ankylosing spondylitis
  • Reiter's syndrome (reactive arthritis)
  • Adult Still's disease
  • Viral arthritis
  • Gonococcal arthritis
  • Other bacterial infections (non-gonococcal bacterial arthritis)
  • Tertiary Lyme disease (the late stage)
  • Tuberculous arthritis
  • Fungal infections such as blastomycosis

Symptoms   

If you have arthritis, you may experience:
  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiffness, especially in the morning
  • Warmth around a joint
  • Redness of the skin around a joint
  • Reduced ability to move the joint

Signs and tests   

First, your doctor will take a detailed medical history to see if arthritis or another musculoskeletal problem is the likely cause of your symptoms.

Next, a thorough physical examination may show that fluid is collecting around the joint. (This is called an "effusion.") The joint may be tender when it is gently pressed, and may be warm and red (especially in infectious arthritis and autoimmune arthritis). It may be painful or difficult to rotate the joints in some directions. This is known as "limited range-of-motion."

In some autoimmune forms of arthritis, the joints may become deformed if the disease is not treated. Such joint deformities are the hallmarks of severe, untreated rheumatoid arthritis.

Tests vary depending on the suspected cause. They often include blood tests and joint x-rays. To check for infection and other causes of arthritis (like gout caused by crystals), joint fluid is removed from the joint with a needle and examined under a microscope. See the specific types of arthritis for further  information.

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Disclaimer

This information is provided for general medical education purposes only and is not meant to substitute for the independent medical judgment of a physician relative to diagnostic and treatment options of a specific patient's medical condition.
In no event will The DrEddyClinic.com be liable for any decision made or action taken in reliance upon the information provided through this web site.

 

 



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