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Juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), sometimes called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis or juvenile chronic arthritis, is a childhood disease that causes inflamed, swollen joints that are often stiff and painful. Symptoms common to all forms of JIA include joint pain, a disturbance in the way a child walks (abnormal gait), and joint stiffness that lasts longer than 1 hour in the morning.
The cause of JIA is not well understood. Most experts believe it is caused by a combination of factors, including an overly active immune system.
There are several types of JIA. Each type is based on how many joints are affected during the first 6 months of active disease, whether the child has other symptoms, and which parts of the body are affected.
Several types of JIA can also include serious eye inflammation.
Last Revised: June 5, 2012
Author: Healthwise Staff
Medical Review: Susan C. Kim, MD - Pediatrics & John Pope, MD - Pediatrics
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