Juvenile arthritis

by Nathan Wei, MD, FACP, FACR

Nathan Wei is a nationally known board-certified rheumatologist and author of the Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit. It's available exclusively at this website... not available in stores.

Click here: Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

The word "arthritis" refers to inflammation (that is, swelling, heat, and pain) involving the joints.

The most common form of arthritis in children is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). This term has fallen into disuse and the preferred term is "juvenile arthriotis." However, children may also be affected by arthritis as a feature of other diseases.

Systemic lupus erythematosus is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by fever and rash that may attack organs such as joints, kidneys, the brain, lungs, and heart. Systemic lupus erythematosus, also called lupus or SLE for short, belongs to the family of rheumatic diseases (arthritis).

Lupus is an autoimmune disease in which the tissues of the body are attacked by the overly active immune system and is treated by suppressing the immune system.

There are two common forms of lupus: discoid and systemic.

Discoid lupus is a disease of the skin which is often chronic and leads to scarring. It may be limited to the skin and not be associated with disease in any other body systems. In other cases, discoid lupus may be one of the features of the systemic form of lupus. This information focuses on the systemic form of the disease.

Juvenile dermatomyositis is a disease that causes a skin rash and weak muscles in children, and may be accompanied by swollen joints. Internal organs such as the lungs and heart may be involved. This disease must be diagnosed rapidly because it can be life-threatening.

The spondyloarthropathies of childhood are diseases in children that affect the spine. In some (but not all) children with these diseases, a protein- a genetic marker- called HLA-B27 is found in the blood. The spondyloarthropathies of childhood include:

Ankylosing spondylitis: a type of arthritis which primarily affects the spine and hips. It usually occurs in males. Ankylosing spondylitis primarily affects the spine or back. In a person with ankylosing spondylitis, the joints and ligaments that permit the spine to move become inflamed and stiff. The bones of the spine may grow together, causing the spine to become rigid and inflexible. Other joints such as the hips, shoulders, knees, or ankles also may become involved.

Reiter's syndrome: a form of arthritis that may cause inflammation of the urinary tract, inflammation of the eyelids, mouth ulcers, and/or skin rash. This may occur after an infection involving either the gastrointestinal or genitourinary tract.

Psoriatic arthritis: a type of arthritis that may occur with the skin condition, psoriasis. It affects both boys and girls. The fingernails and toenails may become disfigured. In its more severe forms it behaves similar to rheumatoid arthritis and causes a destructive pattern of disease.

Scleroderma: a disease that can affect the skin, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs. Scleroderma is a disease that can affect the skin, joints, blood vessels, and internal organs. The word scleroderma means "hard skin."

Inflammatory bowel (Crohn's) disease: a disease that can affect the intestines, causing diarrhea and abdominal pain. It can be associated with arthritis and fever; these symptoms sometimes appear before the bowel symptoms. Rashes, ulcerations of the skin, growth retardation, and kidney stones may be seen. Involvement of the eye with chronic inflammation is another complication.

Juvenile arthritis (JA) affects about 71,000 children in the United States. It is a disease of the joints that may also affect other organs.

JA is often a mild condition which causes few problems, but in severe cases it can produce serious complications. Its signs and symptoms may change from day to day. Joint stiffness and pain may be mild one day but become so severe the next that the child cannot move without great difficulty.

Periods when the arthritis is particularly active are called "flares".

There are at least three forms of JA. Each form begins in a different way and has different signs and symptoms. The three forms are:

• Polyarticular JA: this type affects five or more joints ("poly" means several or many and "articular" means joint)

• Pauciarticular JA: this type affects four or fewer joints ("pauci" means few)

• Systemic JA: this type affects both the joints and the internal organs ("systemic" means internal organs and other body parts are involved)

Get more information about juvenile arthritis and related conditions as well as...

• Insider arthritis tips that help you erase the pain and fatigue of rheumatoid arthritis almost overnight!

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• Ignored remedies that eliminate fibromyalgia symptoms quickly!

• Obsolete treatments for knee osteoarthritis that still are used... and may still work for you!

• The stiff penalties you face if you ignore this type of hip pain...

• 7 easy-to-implement neck pain remedies that work like a charm!

• And much more...

Click here Second Opinion Arthritis Treatment Kit

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