JIA is caused by a problem with the immune system. The normal job of the immune system is to find and destroy items that should not be in the body, like viruses. With JIA, the immune system attacks and damages healthy tissue in the joint. It is not known why this happens. Genetics and the environment may play a role.
JIA is more common in girls.
There are no clear risk factors for JIA. A family history of these health problems may be linked to some types of JIA:
A child may have times when symptoms are worse and times when they improve. Symptoms may not be the same in each child. They can also differ with each type of JIA.
Some common problems may be:
Joint pain or stiffness, especially in the morning or after rest
Red, swollen, or warm joints
Lack of energy
Lack of hunger
The doctor will ask about your child’s symptoms and health history. A physical exam will be done. It will focus on the joints. An eye exam may also be done. Your child may need to see a doctor who treats arthritis.
Blood tests will be done to look for proteins and chemicals linked to JIA.
Images may be taken of the joints. This can be done with:
Cimaz R. Systemic-onset juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Autoimmun Rev. 2016 Sep;15(9):931-934.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) enthesitis related. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia-enthesitis-related. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) oligoarticular. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia-oligoarticular. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) polyarticular. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia-polyarticular. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA) systemic-onset. EBSCO DynaMed website. Available at: https://www.dynamed.com/condition/juvenile-idiopathic-arthritis-jia-systemic-onset. Accessed March 5, 2021.
Ringold S, Angeles-Han ST, et al. 2019 American College of Rheumatology/Arthritis Foundation Guideline for the Treatment of Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis: Therapeutic Approaches for Non-Systemic Polyarthritis, Sacroiliitis, and Enthesitis. Arthritis Care Res (Hoboken). 2019 Jun;71(6):717-734.
Last reviewed December 2020 by
EBSCO Medical Review Board
Kari Kassir, MD
Last Updated: 5/6/2021
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