Juvenile rhumatoid arthritis consists of three types: pauciarticular, polyarticular, and systemic. Doctors determine which type by testing blood antibodies (proteins produced by the immune system), the number of joints affected, and by the symptoms exhibited.
Pauciarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis afflicts about 50 percent of all children who experience JRA. Typically involving larger body joints, such as the knee, this type of juvenile arthritis affects four or fewer joints and targets girls eight-years-old and younger, though other ages and boys can also be affected.
Pauciarticular disease can also cause the eye diseases iritis and uveitis inflammation of the iris and the inner eye, respectively. Outgrowing pauciarticular disease is not uncommon, yet eye problems, joint pain, and other symptoms may recur.
Affecting a little less than a third of children with JRA, polyarticular disease involves five or more joints. Usually symmetrically affecting the smaller joints such as hands and fingers, this type of JRA can also target the larger joints of the hips, shoulders, back, etc.
The severe form of polyarticular sometimes reveals an antibody called the IgM rheumatoid factor, causing symptoms to closely resemble those of adult rheumatoid arthritis.
Systemic JRA sometimes known as Stills disease, not only causes joint pain and swelling, but is also accompanied by fever and a rash. Organs such as the heart, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes may also be affected. In some patients, systemic JRA can attack many joints with severe symptoms continuing into adulthood.
An autoimmune ailment, doctors do not yet know what causes juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, nor is there a cure. Parents of children with this disease can, however, help their childs quality of life in several ways.
These include ensuring proper medical arthritis relief needs are met, encouraging physical therapies, and working with the child’s school for a normal progression toward a good education.