Understanding Rheumatoid Arthritis- Part 2
Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (JRA)
Juvenile RA is the most common type of arthritis in kids. Like adult RA, it causes joint inflammation, stiffness, and damage. However, it can also affect a child’s growth. Juvenile RA is also known as juvenile idiopathic arthritis. “Idiopathic” means no known cause.
RA and Pregnancy
Surprisingly, rheumatoid arthritis improves in up to 80% of women during pregnancy. It will likely flare up after delivery. How and why this happens is still unclear. Changes in your medication may be necessary before you become pregnant and during pregnancy.
Diagnosing RA: Evaluating Symptoms
Because symptoms may come and go, diagnosing RA in its early stages is challenging. If you have these symptoms, your doctor may order further tests:
- Morning joint stiffness
- Swelling/fluid around several joints at the same time
- Swelling in the wrist, hand, or finger joints
- Same joints affected on both sides of your body
Diagnosing RA: Blood Tests
- If RA is suspected, your doctor may order blood tests to check for markers of inflammation in the body. Other common tests are for rheumatoid factor (RF) and anti-cyclic citrullinated peptide (anti-CCP), which is present in most people with RA.
Diagnosing RA: Imaging Tests
- X-rays are helpful in diagnosing RA and to provide a baseline for comparison later as the disease progresses. An MRI or ultrasound may also be done to help detect joint damage and inflammation.