Positive rheumatoid factor polyarthritis

Overview

Type of disease: Rare conditions

Positive rheumatoid factor polyarthritis is one of the forms of juvenile arthritis, more specifically idiopathic arthritis, affecting children under 16 years old. Only 10 percent of children with polyarthritis are rheumatoid factor positive (RF-positive), which is an autoantibody similar to that found in adult rheumatoid arthritis. An autoantibody is an antibody directed against an organism’s own tissues, meaning your body’s immune system’s antibodies, which usually protects your health by neutralizing foreign substances such as bacteria and viruses, mistakenly attack your joints. Positive rheumatoid factor polyarthritis causes inflammation in five or more joints within the first 6 months of the disease and a positive blood test for rheumatoid factors (RF) helps to identify the condition.

Most children who are RF-positive are girls, usually aged 10 or older. Early treatment is important to slow down the disease and prevent long-term damage. This group can have quite a severe form of disease which needs to be actively treated with medication to avoid joint damage. This type of arthritis closely resembles rheumatoid arthritis as seen in adults.

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