Systemic JIA

Systemic (say: sis-tem-ik) JIA (sJIA) is less common than other types of JIA. It affects only 10% to 15% of young people with JIA. However, it is often a more severe form of JIA. Systemic means it affects many parts of the body, rather than just your joints. SJIA is characterised by the presence of fever, swollen lymph glands, and rash. When severe, there may be inflammation of the heart, lungs, liver, or spleen.

Quick facts about sJIA

SJIA affects both males and females equally. It is characterised by presence of fever, swollen lymph glands, and rash. When severe, there may be inflammation of heart, lungs, liver, or spleen.
SJIA affects both males and females equally. It is characterized by presence of fever, swollen lymph glands, and rash. When severe, there may be inflammation of heart, lungs, liver, or spleen.

If you have sJIA, here are a few things should know:

• It affects boys and girls equally.

• It may affect a few joints or it may affect many different ones.

• The disease may range from mild to severe.

• It causes a spiking fever. This is a fever that rapidly rises and falls. The fever typically occurs once or twice every day, often at the same time each day.

• Generally with the fever, you will feel tired and unwell. This happens most often in the late afternoon or evening. When your temperature returns to normal, you will feel better.

• The joint symptoms typically (but not always) begin within six months after the fever first appears. Usually the joint symptoms will persist, even after the fever goes away.

• There often is a rash of pale pink-red spots on the chest, upper arms, thighs, and other parts of the body. The rash may come and go with the spiking fever and may be itchy.

• Swollen lymph glands are common.

• Your liver and spleen may become larger than normal.

• You may have inflammation around your heart, lungs, or bowels. In some cases, your immune system may start to destroy blood cells.

Eye inflammation (uveitis) does not happen very often with this type of JIA.

There are many other illnesses that also cause fever and rash in young people. In the early stages of sJIA, there is sometimes no sign of joint inflammation, such as joint pain or swelling. This makes sJIA very difficult to diagnose. Multiple tests are often needed to diagnose this type of JIA. Rarely, the body-system problems that are associated with this type of JIA, such as heart and lung inflammation, can be life threatening.

The duration of sJIA varies from person to person. Some young people will have only one episode of the disease, get better and never have a problem again. However, there are usually flares of active disease over time. Treatment is usually needed that is often different from other types of JIA, such as high doses of steroids (prednisone) and different types of biologic medication. A small number of young people with sJIA develop very severe arthritis in many joints and may require aggressive treatment to control it.

Welcome to the Taking Charge: Managing JIA Online Program! In this section you will learn what to expect in the program, how to get started and how to set goals to better manage JIA.

JIA stands for juvenile idiopathic arthritis. Find out what causes JIA, the different types of JIA and how it will affect you now and in the future.

Diagnosing JIA may be difficult as joint pain and swelling may be a part of many different illnesses. Diagnosis of JIA typically includes a physical exam, blood tests and imaging studies.

Pain, stiffness, and tiredness or fatigue, are common symptoms of JIA. These symptoms can lead to difficulties with participating in school and sports activities, and enjoying time with your friends. Learn about pain, fatigue, and stiffness, how to manage symptoms and how these symptoms can cause stress.

There are several strategies you can use to help you cope with pain, stress, and sleep problems. These include relaxation, distraction, and managing your thoughts. In this section, learn more about how each of these strategies work.

When you know about your medications, you can talk to your doctor about them and make good choices for yourself. Find out about the different types of JIA medications, how they work, common side effects, and the importance of talking to your doctor about your medication plan.

Did you know that there are many other therapies that you can use to manage JIA symptoms? They can help to prevent complications so that you can do all the things you want to do. In this section, learn more about physical, occupational, and psychological therapies; maintaining healthy nutrition; surgical options for JIA, and more.

Your role in making decisions about your treatment plan is very important. Your health-care team and other members of your support system are available to help you make these decisions. In turn, they can help you to manage your JIA.

Whether you have JIA or not, you need to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Find out how to stay healthy and active, learn about puberty and relationships, healthy body image, and making healthy lifestyle choices.

Sometime between the ages of 18 to 22, you most likely will transition from your pediatric rheumatologist to the adult health care setting. At that time, there are a number of things you, your family, and your health-care team can do to help make this change go smoothly.