Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (“JIA”) previously called Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (“JRA”) generally occurs before age 16.  Symptoms include persistent joint swelling, stiffness and pain that can affect a few joints or many joints along with more systemic symptoms such as fever, rashes and enlarged lymph nodes.  Like other forms of arthritis, periods of active disease (‘flares”) are followed by periods of remission.   Chronic JIA can lead to ocular inflammation and growth issues.

JIA is caused when the body’s immune system attacks its own cells and tissues.  While the cause of JIA is unknown, genetic and environmental factors appear to play a role in its development.  Certain gene mutations may increase individual susceptibility while environmental factors such as viruses, and bacterial infections act as triggers for disease onset.  Treatment is centered on preventing joint damage, improving function and controlling pain.