90210 star speaks out about her family's health crisis.
Today, the news broke that Jennie Garth's 5-year-old daughter, Lola, has juvenile rheumatoid arthritis that went undiagnosed for months. "She got very sick and we didn't know what was wrong with her," Garth, who has three girls with husband Peter Facinelli, told People. "I was basically locked in a closet with her for three months. It turned out to be a form of JRA; we treated her and it's in remission. It was tough, but she's better now."
What is Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis, and what are the symptoms? Pediatrician Dr. Cara Natterson fills us in:
• Arthritis means inflammation of the joints. In Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis (also known as JRA), kids have one or more swollen, painful joints and often get fevers or rashes.
• JRA affects somewhere between 150,000 to 250,000 kids in the U.S., and it is twice as likely to appear in females. It can be short term (lasting a few weeks) or chronic and progressive (lasting years).
• JRA is not the same as your grandmother's arthritis. It tends to affect the big joints (like the hips, knees, elbows and shoulders) rather than smaller ones (though it certainly can show up in the fingers and toes, too). It can be
present in one joint, many joints, or all over the body with "systemic" symptoms.
• The symptoms of JRA can be obvious--like massively swollen knees and elbows with no preceding trauma--but they can also be subtle. Sometimes kids just have soreness in a joint or two or waxing and waning rashes. Fevers often accompany JRA. These fevers spike high in the evening and then go away during the daytime.
• JRA is thought to be autoimmune, meaning that the body's immune system accidentally turns on itself, generating inflammation and swelling. Therefore, the medical treatments for JRA are anti-inflammatory medicines. Physical therapy and exercise are extremely important with JRA, because the joints need to be mobilized--otherwise they can become stiff and the muscles around them weak. Often, JRA is managed by muscle and joint specialists called rheumatologists.
Any advice for Jennie Garth, Moms? Please comment below.