Causes of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis

The causes of Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis are unknown. This autoimmune disease is similar to rheumatoid arthritis which occurs in adults. In an autoimmune disease, the immunity of the body perceives the body’s own tissues as harmful and attacks them. Normally, the immune system attacks only harmful invaders like infections by releasing certain cells and proteins into the bloodstream. An antibody is a type of immune protein. In juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the antibodies and immune cells attack the synovium or lining of the joints. The resulting inflammation causes the synovium to become thicker and grow outside the joint. This exerts pressure and damages the bone, cartilage and surrounding tissues. The exact reason why this autoimmune response occurs is unknown. Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is more common in girls than in boys.

There are some serious complications which can occur on account of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. It is important to monitor your child's condition and seek early medical treatment so that the risk of these complications is reduced:

  • Some types of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can lead to uveitis or eye inflammation. If untreated, this can contribute to glaucoma, cataracts, and blindness. Usually uveitis does not trigger any symptoms and hence children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis should undergo regular eye examinations.
  • Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis can hamper the growth and development of the child. Certain medications used to treat the condition may also interfere with normal growth.

  1. Edward H. Giannini, James T. Cassidy, Earl J. Brewer, Alexander Shaikov, Alexei Maximov, Nina Kuzmina, Comparative efficacy and safety of advanced drug therapy in children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, Seminars in Arthritis and Rheumatism, Volume 23, Issue 1, August 1993, Pages 34-46, ISSN 0049-0172, 10.1016/S0049-0172(05)80025-3.
  2. Rosario Di Toro, Cesare Polito, Nutrition in Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, Nutrition Research, Volume 17, Issue 4, April 1997, Pages 741-758, ISSN 0271-5317, 10.1016/S0271-5317(97)00044-4.