Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis affects approximately one in every 1,000 children and is characterized by the inflammation of joints. Several genetic and environmental factors have been as causative factors for the disorder. The onset of the condition typically occurs before the age of 16. There is no satisfactory treatment available. However, targeted treatment has been shown to improve symptoms significantly.
The five most common types of JIA are oligoarthritis, which accounts for 50 per cent of cases and involves the swelling of less than five joints; polyarthritis, with swelling of more than five joints; systemic arthritis, characterized by high fevers and a rash with swelling of other organs in addition to joints; enthesitis-related arthritis, which may affect the spine and hips; and psoriatic arthritis, where children have psoriasis in addition to swollen joints.
The incidence of the disease is more among Canadian children and if untreated, it can lead to significant developmental damage to the bones, joints and muscles.
A study published by the Cleveland Clinic and The Hospital for Sick Children (SickKids) provides the medical community for the first time with specific guidelines for treating juvenile idiopathic arthritis (JIA), previously known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. To date, a clear approach for treating the different forms of the disease has not existed, despite many advances in the treatment of JIA.
The guidelines in the JAMA study summarize the current evidence-based medical practices for JIA and provide physicians with a rational approach for treating the various subtypes of the disease. By examining a patients' symptoms physicians can determine the type of arthritis they have and what approach is most appropriate for treating their condition.
The key to the effective management of the condition according to the researchers is providing the correct treatment depending on the symptoms of the patient. To put it in a nutshell, better results could be achieved through individualized treatment strategy.