Adult RA and Juvenile Arthritis May Be More Similar Than Once Thought

Are rheumatoid arthritis
and juvenile rheumatoid arthritis simply the same illness diagnosed at
different life stages?

The answer isn’t as
clear-cut as rheumatologists, patients, and researchers might think.

Juvenile arthritis (JA) —
also known as juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, pediatric arthritis, and juvenile idiopathic arthritis — is the sixth
most common childhood disease, but it’s often misdiagnosed or undiagnosed.

One reason for this is due
to the misconception that “arthritis” only affects an older portion of the
population. Another problem is the national shortage of pediatric rheumatology specialists.

There is also the issue
that the umbrella term “juvenile arthritis” actually encompasses several unique childhood rheumatologic diseases.

Furthering the confusion
surrounding JA is whether or not it is actually a separate and distinct disease
from rheumatoid arthritis (RA) or if it is simply early-onset or pediatric RA,
meaning, the same disease diagnosed at a younger age.

Read more: Get the facts on juvenile rheumatoid arthritis »

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A new study
may provide some clarity and guidance about the JA vs. RA conundrum.

In it, researchers say a
genetic link has been found between JA and RA.

It was already known among
pediatric rheumatologists that some kinds of juvenile idiopathic arthritis have
adult counterparts.

Past research also showed

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