Juvenile Arthritis – Boys Town National Research Hospital

Juvenile Arthritis – Boys Town National Research Hospital


Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis is really the
bread and butter of autoimmune diseases for pediatric rheumatologists. We have several different types of juvenile
arthritis and I think it’s important to know that our types of disease is a little
different than the common rheumatoid arthritis you see in adults, but basically arthritis
when you break it down is simply arthritis or inflammation of joints and we really look
at how many joints are involved and that helps us how to target that therapy. Juvenile arthritis can come in forms that
start in just large joints of the lower extremities, knees and ankles. That’s our most common form. That is called oligoarthritis or what was
used to be called pauciarticular arthritis. It just means few joints involved and then
we start to see what we call polyarthritis and that is multiple joint arthritis, so five
or more joints and those are a little bit older kids typically and those start to involve
upper extremity joints, more frequently fingers and looks a little bit more like the adult
form. Even if you have polyarthritis, you’re still
more likely not to have the adult form of arthritis. I think that is important because there is
some stigma to the adult form that is different than our types of disease. So if they only have one or two joins, then
we typically will use a more conservative therapy, something like nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory. Maybe local joint injections with steroid
and then if they develop more of a refractory course or they have a lot of joints that onset,
then we’ll use systemic medications to calm that joint disease down.

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