What is Rheumatoid Arthritis?

Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA) is an inflammatory arthritis which causes joint pain and damage. RA attacks the lining of the joints, causing pain and swelling and eventually deformity. There is no cure for RA but symptoms can be managed allowing your child a relatively normal lifestyle.

What are the causes?

  • Normally white blood cells attack unwanted bacteria and viruses in the body. When white blood cells move into the membranes that surround joints, this causes inflammation. The inflammation causes proteins to be released, which eventually cause the joint membranes to thicken. The joint then loses its shape and alignment and can be destroyed.
  • Doctors do not know what causes this process that leads to RA but possible factors contributing to the disease are genetics, lifestyle and environment.

Treatments for Rheumatoid Arthritis:

  • Medications to relieve pain
  • Medications to slow or stop the progression of joint damage
  • Surgery to repair damaged joints

What can I do?

  • Apply heat and cold to reduce pain and relax muscles
  • Know your child’s limits and allow him or her to rest if needed
  • Encourage a healthy diet and exercise


It is important to remember the health information found on this Web site is for reference only not intended to replace the advice and guidance of your health care provider. Always seek the advice of your physician with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition. If you think you may have a true medical emergency, call 911 immediately.


  • Joint pain
  • Joint swelling
  • Joints that are tender to the touch
  • Red, puffy hands
  • Firm bumps of tissue under the skin on the arms
  • Fatigue
  • Morning stiffness (30 minutes or more)
  • Fever
  • Weight loss


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