Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

By Erin Forsberg

Introduction Paragraph

Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA) is a form of arthritis found in children aged 16 or younger. It causes joint inflammation, pain and stiffness lasting over 6 weeks. JRA is an autoimmune disease, and the immune system will begin to attack healthy cells instead of the foreign ones.

Disease Info.

Cause -

Researchers don’t know the exact cause on why this happens to the immune system. However, they do think that it can begin to form after having a certain virus or environmental factor.

Symptoms -

  • Your child may complain of pain, or you may notice them limping especially in the morning or after a nap.

  • Swelling is a symptom more common in the larger joints such as the knee.

  • Stiffness can occur after long periods of immobility causing your child to be more clumsy than usual

JRA can affect one joint or many, it can be low pain or high pain, it can last a few months or a few years. The cases of the disease vary as do the symptoms.

Who Gets It? -

JRA affects over 50,000 kids under the age of 16 in the United States only. JRA can be triggered by some inheritance or environmental factors but is not guaranteed to be inherited.

Treatment -

Cases of JRA vary so in some cases, the only treatment needed is a pain killer. In worse cases, stronger pain killers by medication, biologic agents such as Enbrel and Humira can be needed.

Diagnosis -

Diagnosing JRA can be difficult at most times because joint and leg pain can come from a number of problems. No single test can confirm the disease but can rule out other options. Some test to help with the diagnostics are blood tests and image scans.

5 Tips For A Healthy Lifestyle

  1. be careful when doing large amounts of physical activity. Running, walking, or exercising can agitate the joints and cause pain. Be careful not to over do it.

  2. If your joints are causing you pain, ice them (But do not keep the straight or unmoved for a long period of time causing stiffness)

  3. Bringing pain killers around with you to stop pain when you feel it can help for sudden outbursts you weren’t expecting

  4. Keep up with medication. If you have a medication other than pain killers, It is important that you do not miss a dose.

  5. If you have ankle pain, try rolling your ankle in the letters of the alphabet to reduce stiffness and pain.

10 Facts About JRA

1. JRA effects over 300,000 kids in the US alone.

2. Joint pain is not always caused by JRA so it is important to see a doctor before jumping to conclusions.

3. JRA can often cause morning stiffness.

4. A child can develop JRA from ages 2-16

5. There is no set cure for JRA

6. It is possible for it to be fatal but is not common.

7. Smaller cases may only require pain killers.

8. It is not JRA if the pain lasts less than 6 weeks.

9. Symptoms can worsen in patients when the get older or they can lessen depending on the case.

10. Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis Is also commonly known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

Work Cited

5 Tips - 11 years of personal experience

Disease Info - Mayo Clinic. "Arthritis." Symptoms. Mayo Clinic, n.d. Web. 16 June 2015.

10 Facts - RA Medicine. "Rheumatoid Arthritis Symptoms and Signs in the Hips, Hands and Knees." MedicineNet. Net, n.d. Web. 16 June 2015.