ZocdocAnswersWill someone with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis be in pain for the rest of their life?

Question

Will someone with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis be in pain for the rest of their life?

I'm worried about my little cousin, who has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. Will she always be in pain or does this condition get better with age? Does it just lead to worse pain and symptoms when you get older?

Answer

Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is a fairly common type of joint inflammation which affects children. Unlike its counterpart in adults, rheumatoid arthritis, juvenile rheumatoid arthritis tends to be less severe, although of course there are always exceptions. The typical course of juvenile rheumatoid arthritis is waking and waning episodes of joint pain. As the child gets older, it is also typical for these episodes to become less severe and farther apart. Many children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis will eventually go into long term remission without any major residual symptoms. It is important for children with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis to see their joint doctor (rheumatologist) regularly. This is because controlling the flares of inflammation is important, as uncontrolled inflammation will have the tendency to permanently damage the joints, which can lead to long term arthritis and pain later in adult life. Also it is important for children with this condition to get plenty of exercise, as their pain allows, as exercise also tends to help joint flexibility and relieves stiffness. Your cousin will likely also be followed closely by his general pediatrician, in addition to his rheumatologist. Finally, he will need regular eye exams, as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis occasionally produces inflammation inside the eye.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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