Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (JIA) is an autoimmune disease that involves the joints, but can also cause eye inflammation, fevers or rash. JIA is a chronic disease, and by definition, the symptoms of JIA start before the child reaches the age of 16.
Our body’s immune system is normally responsible for fighting foreign bacteria, viruses and diseased cells in the body. In JIA, malfunctioning of the immune system causes it to target the body’s own cells, thus attacking the lining of the joints (synovial membrane) and causing inflammation. If the inflammation is left untreated, the condition progresses, leading to destruction of the bone and cartilage of the joint, and ultimately loss of function or mobility. The swelling and tenderness is due to increased fluid in the joint and the thickening of the joint capsule.
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