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What Is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis?

JRA Is Also Known as Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis

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

What Is Arthritis?

Arthritis means joint inflammation, and it refers to a group of diseases that cause pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion in the joints.

Arthritis is often used as a more general term to refer to the more than 100 rheumatic diseases that may affect the joints but can also cause pain, swelling, and stiffness in other supporting structures of the body (such as muscles, tendons, ligaments, and bones). Some rheumatic diseases can affect other parts of the body, including various internal organs.

Children can develop almost all types of arthritis that affect adults, but the most common type of arthritis that affects children is juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

You may hear the term "juvenile idiopathic arthritis."  That term is increasingly being used by the medical community in recognition of the fact that JRA has several subtypes.  Juvenile idopathic arthritis better encapsulates this than JRA does; we use both terms on our site.

What Is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis?
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) is arthritis that causes joint inflammation and stiffness for more than 6 weeks in a child of 16 years of age or less. Inflammation causes redness, swelling, warmth, and soreness in the joints, although many children with JRA do not complain of joint pain. Any joint can be affected, and inflammation may limit the mobility of affected joints.

Updated on: 08/09/12
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Types of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis (JRA) occurs in several forms. Pauciarticular is the most common. Polyarticular JRA is more like the adult version rheumatoid arthritis. Systemic JRA is the third type. Learn the differences among the 3 types.
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