Juvenile idiopathic arthritis is a term used to describe a group of disorders in children that includes arthritis. They are chronic (long-term) diseases that cause joint pain and swelling.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA); Juvenile chronic polyarthritis; Still disease; Juvenile spondyloarthritis
The cause of juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is not known. It is thought to be an autoimmune illness. This means the body attacks and destroys healthy body tissue by mistake.
JIA most often develops before age 16. Symptoms may start as early as 6 months old.
There are several types of JIA:
- Systemic (bodywide) JIA involves joint swelling or pain, fevers, and rash. It is the least common type.
- Polyarticular JIA involves many joints. This form of JIA may turn into rheumatoid arthritis. It may involve five or more large and small joints of the legs and arms, as well as the jaw and neck.
- Pauciarticular JIA involves 4 or less joints, most often the wrists, or knees. It also affects the eyes.
- Spondyloarthritis of children resembles the disorder in adults and often involves the sacroiliac joint.