Expert Q&A: New Onset SJIA
Learn how the symptoms of new-onset systemic juvenile idiopathic arthritis (SJIA) present themselves and what to watch out for.
Q: Can the symptoms of new onset SJIA come and go? What should I watch for?
A: Symptoms of SJIA are different for everyone. Some children may have a single flare, then symptoms permanently go into remission. Others have symptoms that come and go for years. And about 30 percent have a more severe and persistent disease course. In all cases, parents should be alert for serious complications of the disease.
“The first thing parents should watch for are signs of possible MAS,” Dr. Wampler Muskardin says. “That includes high, constant fever, [which] is different form the quotidian fever of SJIA. Additional signs include headache, seizures and changes in alertness. These should prompt an immediate visit to the emergency department and a call to your pediatric rheumatologist.”
As for SJIA itself: “Parents should watch for joint swelling, functional trouble or joint stiffness that is worse after periods of rest. These are signs of arthritis and may mean a change in treatment [is needed].”
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