Typically Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis appears between the ages of 6 months and 16 years. The first signs are often joint pain or swelling, and reddened or warm joints. The type of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis a child has is generally determined by the pattern of symptoms that occurs within the first 6 months after symptoms appear.
The symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis eventually disappear in about 50% of these children, but with the current knowledge it is difficult to predict who will most likely outgrow the disease. Many doctors specializing in joint disorders, find that the more joints affected, the more severe the disease and the less likely that the symptoms will eventually go into total remission.
The classification of JRA includes three major types (with some subtypes):
Polyarticular arthritis affects more girls than boys. Symptoms include swelling or pain in five or more joints. The small joints of the hands are affected as well as the weight-bearing joints such as the knees, hips, ankles, feet, and neck. In addition, a low-grade fever may appear, as well as bumps or nodules on the body on areas subjected to pressure from sitting or leaning.
Pauciarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects fewer than four joints. Symptoms include pain, stiffness, or swelling of affected joints, the knee and wrist joints being the most commonly affected. In this subtype of JRA, an inflammation of the iris (the colored area of the eye) may occur with or without active joint symptoms. This inflammation, called iridocyclitis or iritis, can be detected early by an ophthalmologist.
Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis affects the whole body. Symptoms include high fevers that often increase in the evenings, and then may suddenly drop to normal. During the onset of fever, the child may feel very ill, appear pale, or develop a rash. The rash may suddenly disappear, and then quickly appear again. The spleen and lymph nodes may also become enlarged. Eventually many of the body's joints are affected by swelling, pain, and stiffness.
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis - Cause - Diagnosis - Symptoms