Severe Juvenile idiopathic arthritis

What is Severe Juvenile Idiopathic Arthritis (SJIA)?

Severe juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) is a rare, long-lasting autoimmune disease that causes inflammation of the joints in children. It is the most severe form of juvenile idiopathic arthritis. It affects up to 1 in 1,000 children.


The exact cause of SJIA is unknown, but it is thought to be related to an overactive immune system. In SJIA, the immune system mistakes healthy tissues in the body for invaders, and produces large amounts of inflammatory chemicals like cytokines as a response. This leads to joint swelling, pain, and damage.


SJIA can affect many parts of the body, and symptoms vary from person to person. Common symptoms of SJIA include:

  • Fever
  • Rash
  • Joint swelling
  • Stiffness and pain in the joints
  • Muscle pain and weakness
  • Abdominal pain
  • Fatigue


Diagnosis of SJIA is based on the patient’s symptoms and a physical examination. Blood tests may also be performed to look for specific inflammatory markers. Imaging tests may also be used to look for signs of inflammation and joint damage.


Treatment of SJIA is typically a combination of medications, physical therapy, rest, and lifestyle changes. Medications used to treat SJIA include non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), corticosteroids, biologics, and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic drugs (DMARDs).

Physical therapy and exercise can help reduce stiffness and strengthen the muscles. Heat therapy, cold therapy, and massage are also used to reduce pain. Rest and relaxation are important to reduce fatigue and help preserve energy levels.


SJIA can cause long-term complications, such as joint damage and stunted growth. Eye problems, including uveitis, can also occur. People with SJIA may also experience emotional and social difficulties due to the pain and disability.