Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis - Topic Overview
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), formerly called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) or juvenile chronic arthritis (JCA), is a disease that
affects children age 16 and younger. It causes inflamed, swollen, stiff, and
often painful joints. JIA may affect one or more joints and can cause a
The cause of JIA is unknown. Most experts
believe it may be caused by a combination of the following things:
- An overly active
immune system that inappropriately attacks joint
tissues, as if they were foreign substances. Viral or bacterial infections are
a suspected trigger of the autoimmune process.
- Genetic factors that make a child's immune system more
likely to react inappropriately
Common symptoms of JIA include:
- Joint pain and swelling that may come and go but
are most often persistent.
- Joint stiffness in the
- Irritability, refusal to walk, or protection or guarding
of a joint. You might notice your child limping or avoiding the use of a
- Often unpredictable changes in symptoms, from
periods with no symptoms (remission) to flare-ups.
A child with JIA will likely be treated with a combination of
medicines and physical therapy. The goals of medical treatment are to reduce
your child's joint pain and to prevent disability.
information, see the topic Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis.