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While arthritis is often associated with adults, the painful condition can affect children, too, and cause irreversible damage if left untreated.
Juvenile rheumatoid arthritis, or JRA, is a disease that affects roughly 16,000 children in the United States. JRA occurs when the body’s immune system attacks its own healthy cells and tissues. The cause is unknown, but genetics and environmental factors likely play a role.
Anjali Patwardhan, MD, the director of pediatric rheumatology at University of Missouri Health Care, says juvenile arthritis is often misdiagnosed, partly due to a shortage of physicians trained in this subspecialty.
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