JIA is the most common cause of chronic (lasts more than 6 week) arthritis in children. It is of different types depending on the clinical signs and symptoms. In JIA child has joint pain associated with swelling and along with this may have fever, skin rash, lymph node enlargement, backache, red eye, or pain in sole/heel.
The exact reason why it occurs is not know. Genetic and environmental factors are thought to play a role but it is not a hereditary disease as only 5% of children have a family history.
Will my child be able to do job?
If the disease is managed early and well, most children can study and do a profession. However some children have physical limitation and thus cannot do jobs that involve manual labor. It is good to have a session with your physician when you are making decision regarding career.
What is the long term outcome of this disease?
JIA is a disease with good outcome however 50% of children would have some joint pains during adulthood. Most children can attain good education level and are employable. Good outcome depends on early and effective treatment to control disease activity.
What are its complications?
In systemic variety ( So JIA ) child have fluid around the heart ( pericarditis ) around lungs (pleuritis), myocarditis, marked weight loss rarely a serious condition called macrophage activation syndrome. In other varieties limb length discrepancy, hip joint damage and joint deformities may occur. Uveitis ( inflammation in eye ) can present with redness of eyes, blurring of vision or gradual visual loss. Thus regular eye checkup is needed.
Complications can also be related to therapy like weight gain, short stature, acne related to cortisone. Methotrexate, sulphasalazing and leflunomide may rarely cause lowering of blood counts or liver enzyme abnormalities.
Does it have any effect on puberty?
In most children if the disease is well controlled there is no impact on pubertal growth. In children with SoJiA or polyarticular JIA puberty may be delayed due to persistent disease activity.