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Symptoms of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

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

The most common symptom of all types of JRA is persistent joint swelling, pain, and stiffness that typically is worse in the morning or after a nap. The pain may limit movement of the affected joint, although many children, especially younger ones, will not complain of pain.

JRA commonly affects the knees and joints in the hands and feet. One of the earliest signs of JRA may be limping in the morning because of an affected knee.

Besides joint symptoms, children with systemic JRA have a high fever and light pink rash. The rash and fever may appear and disappear very quickly. Systemic JRA also may cause the lymph nodes located in the neck and other parts of the body to swell.

In some cases (less than half), internal organs, including the heart and the lungs (very rarely), may be involved.

Eye inflammation is a potentially severe complication that sometimes occurs in children with pauciarticular JRA. Eye disease such as iritis and uveitis often are not present until some time after a child first develops JRA.

Typically, there are periods when the symptoms of JRA are better or disappear (remissions) and times when symptoms are worse (flares). JRA is different in each child—some may have just one or two flares and never have symptoms again, which others experience many flares of even have symptoms that never go away.

Updated on: 12/10/09
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Causes of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

The medical community isn't sure what causes juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA). They know it's an autoimmunie disease; the immune system turns against the body and attacks healthy tissues. That's what causes joint inflammation associated with JRA (also called juvenile idiopathic arthritis).
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