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Causes of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis Causes Are Not Entirely Understood

Material provided by the National Institute of Arthritis and Musculoskeletal and Skin Diseases. You may visit their website at www.nih.com.

Juvenile rhematoid arthritis, or juvenile idiopathic arthritis (a newer term for the inflammatory arthritis disorders than can develop in children) is an autoimmune disorder, which means that the body mistakenly identifies some of its own cells and tissues as foreign.

The immune system, which normally helps to fight off harmful, foreign substances such as bacteria or viruses, begins to attack healthy cells and tissues. The result is inflammation—marked by redness, heat, pain, and swelling.

Doctors do not know why the immune system goes awry in children who develop JRA.

Scientists suspect that it is a two-step process. First, something in a child's genetic make-up gives them a tendency to develop JRA; and then an environmental factor, such as a virus, triggers the development of JRA.

To learn more about what causes rheumatoid arthritis, you should read our article on rheumatoid arthritis causes. It's addressing the adult-form of RA, but the concept is the same:  something goes wrong in the body, and it starts to attack healthy tissue.  The medical community is still working on understanding the complexities of inflammatory arthritis.

Updated on: 08/09/12
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Exams and Tests to Diagnose Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

A doctor diagnoses juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) by carefully examining the patient and his or her medical history, along with the results of laboratory tests. This article explains the exams and tests that diagnose JRA.
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