Types of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Polyarticular Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

About 30 percent of all children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis have polyarticular disease. In polyarticular disease, five or more joints are affected. The small joints, such as those in the hands and feet, are most commonly involved, but the disease may also affect large joints. Polyarticular juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is often symmetrical, meaning it affects the same joint on both sides of the body.
 
Some children with polyarticular disease have an antibody in their blood called IgM rheumatoid factor (RF). These children often have a more severe form of the disease, which doctors consider to be similar in many ways to adult rheumatoid arthritis.
 

Systemic Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

Besides joint swelling, the systemic form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is characterized by spiking fevers occurring several times a day and a light skin rash. It may also affect internal organs such as the heart, liver, spleen, and lymph nodes. Healthcare providers sometimes call this type Still's disease.
 
Almost all children with this type of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis test negative for both RF and ANA. The systemic form of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects 20 percent of all children with JRA. A small percentage of these children develop arthritis in many joints and can have severe arthritis that continues into adulthood.
 
In most children with systemic juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, medications must be used for months to years to control the fever, rash, and other systemic symptoms that occur along with the arthritis.
 
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Juvenile Arthritis

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