Currently classified as a sub-type of juvenile arthritis it differes with the addition of systemic inflammation often resulting in fever, rash and serositis (an inflammation of the tissues that line the lungs, heart, and abdominal organs).
New research published in the journal BMC Medicine indicates that the arthritic and systemic components of SJIA are related, but that the inflammatory pathways involved in SJIA are different from those in the more common juvenile arthritis.
At the time of diagnosis SJIA can resemble other diseases such as a viral but persistent SJIA can lead to chronic arthritis.
The lack of auto-antibodies (antibodies the body produces against itself rather than to fight an infection) and other rheumatoid factors has led people to suggest, unlike other forms of juvenile arthritis, SJIA should be classified as autoinflammatory rather than autoimmune.
Knowledge like this should help doctors refine treatment plans for these children and help to control their disease.
Riley Gonzales (see photo) from Moses Lake, WA, is an example of a child who suffers from juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, the autoimmune version of juvenile arthritis.
“He’s a typical six-year-old,” his mother says of Riley. “He loves to play with his brother, and loves to get outside and do anything and everything.”
Riley was born with arthritis, a condition that people typically associate with older adults. But one in every 300,000 kids have arthritis.
Mrs. Gonzales said that Riley has always been excited to help share his story and raise awareness about his arthritis. Along with his family, Riley has participated in several arthritis walks around Washington State during the past few years.
Children such as Riley must learn to live with a disease that can be painful and crippling. While science works to find treatments and cures, one simple item that can help these children is the UGLee Pen.
This ergonomic pen has been designed to grip you, rather than you having to take a tight hold on the pen. This allows children with arthritis to write without the pain and stress that other writing utensils offer.
Photo Credit: Columbia Basin Herald