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Understanding Juvenile Arthritis: Disease, Diagnosis, Treatment

DayToDay Team
July 27, 2021

Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis or JIA is a form of arthritis found in children below 16 years of age. Also previously known as Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, this disease causes joint stiffness, pains, and swelling. According to a study published by PubMed, the estimated prevalence of JIA is close to 48 cases in every one lakh children. This statistic makes it surprisingly common and unfortunately underdiagnosed.

For early JIA diagnosis, it is essential to understand more about the disease. Let’s get into the details on what JIA is, its symptoms, its diagnosis, and possible treatments.

What is JIA?

JIA is a chronic and long-lasting disease seen in children. JIA is treatable when diagnosed early and managed efficiently. More girls are affected by the disease. A severe case of Juvenile Artheritis causes complications, like growth problems causing delayed milestones and joint damage.

Juvenile Artheritis has three major types. Oligoarticluar JIA involves a few joints, usually the ankle, wrist, or knee. About 50% of JIA patients are of this type.

Polyarticular JIA involves infection in five or more than five smaller bones. About 30% of arthritis patients come under this type.

Systemic JIA is among 20% of children suffering from Juvenile Artheritis. Systemic JIA is a more severe type of infection, leading to artheritis into adulthood.

Doctors are still trying to understand the causes of this ailment, even though they indicate genetic and environmental factors.

What are the symptoms of JIA?

Common signs and symptoms of Juvenile arthritis include -

  • Joint pain, especially in the larger joints
  • Morning limp
  • Swelling near ankles, hip joint
  • Joint stiffness, particularly after waking up from a nap
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Weakness of muscle and soft-tissue around joints
  • Uneven growth of joints
  • Eye problem called iridocyclitis

The type of JIA determines the symptoms the child will have. Along with joint pains and swelling, children also have rash flare-ups and fever. Identifying the type of disease helps decide on an effective treatment routine.

How is Juvenile Arthritis diagnosed?

The diagnosis of JIA can be difficult as young children have trouble understanding and describing the symptoms. Also, symptoms like joint pains can be due to other possible disorders and injuries. Narrowing down the diagnosis to Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis can take some time.

The doctor notes the past medical history and family history of the child. Then, the doctor suggests tests to eliminate other possible causes. These tests include -

  • Blood tests like ESR, C-Reactive protein, antinuclear antibody test, and cyclic citrullinated peptide test
  • Rheumatoid factor test
  • Imaging scans like X-rays to eliminate malignancies, tumors, congenital anomalies

Other conditions that look like JIA include Lyme’s disease, Lupus, Paediatric cancer, and infections. The final diagnosis depends on the symptoms, physical findings, test reports, and exclusion of disease.

How is JIA treated?

The treatment of JIA allows focusing on the proper growth and development of the child. Doctors use a combination of treatments to help achieve an optimum level of physical and social activities. The treatment revolves around reducing swelling, relieving pain, and preventing complications.

  • Medicine treatments include using NSAIDs, disease-modifying antirheumatic drugs, and corticosteroids.
  • Physical and occupational therapies help improve the movements and motion of the joints. Therapists also recommend accessories like splints and joint supports for good functional postures.
  • Surgeries are sometimes the solution for severe joint deformities due to JIA.

Do children need support after JIA diagnosis and treatment?

Emotion and physical support are the backbones of early, successful recovery. Parents should show their support and let the child express their feeling about the diagnosis. Parents should encourage children to participate in games and physical activities approved by their doctor.

Parents should feel free to discuss the child’s situation with a counselor and seek ways to motivate the child through recovery. Sometimes, it’s also beneficial for families to have an external support system to manage their doubts and problems related to the diagnosis.

DayToDay Health provides virtual care assistance to patients who undergo surgical interventions. The DayToDay Health app brings a highly integrated platform to patients for their recovery journey.

A nurse care coach is available round the clock to guide the patient and their family. The patients can enter daily health logs, manage wounds and symptoms, access interactive content about their illness, and much more.

To get help for Orthopaedic post-surgical care, contact DayToDay Health on

Alexis den Boggende
Alexis den Boggende
Senior Content Writer
Olivia Casale
Olivia Casale
Senior Content Writer
Danny Biel
Danny Biel
Senior Cotent Writer
Driven Writer with a demonstrated history of working in the hospital & health care industry. Strong past in Applied Improvisation and Improvisation for entertainment. Skilled in Talent Management, Copywriting, Teaching, Curriculum Development, Editing, and Data Management. Strong media and communication professional with a Master of Education.
Prem Sharma
Prem Sharma
Christine Hsieh
Christine Hsieh
Chief of Strategy & Research
My vision is to help transformative, indispensable inventions come into markets to make a difference in people's lives. I see this occurring through a continuously evolving practice of working at the intersection of empathetic design, cutting-edge technology, and business.
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