Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis
The following information will help answer some of your questions about juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It'll also provide information about the different ways to treat juvenile idiopathic arthritis.
What is juvenile idiopathic arthritis?
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) is a term used for several types of arthritis that involve chronic (long-lasting) joint inflammation that begins before age 16. It often causes joint pain, swelling, stiffness, and loss of motion as well as joint damage over time.
What causes JIA?
Scientists still don't know exactly what causes JIA, but research has shown certain factors that may be involved:
- Genetic factors — Certain genes passed from parent to child are known to play a role in the development of JIA, although they are not the only factor.
- Environmental factors — Some scientists believe there is something environmental (such as an infection) that may trigger a person whose genetic makeup makes them more likely to develop the condition.
How is JIA treated?
The treatment goal for JIA is to relieve pain, reduce swelling in the joints, slow down or stop joint damage, and help people feel better and stay active. Medications are generally taken by mouth or given as a shot and may include:
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) — Reduce the amount of swelling and helps quickly relieve pain
- Corticosteroids — Reduce swelling and help relieve pain over time
- Disease-modifying anti–rheumatic drugs (DMARDs) and biologic response modifiers (biologics) — Reduce swelling, help relieve pain over time, and slow or prevent joint damage
Physical therapy also helps preserve joint function and may prevent deformities.
View a video with more information on Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis treatment and care.
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