Arthritis affects people of all ages – including kids!
- It’s very common, 1 in 6 adults have arthritis and 1 in 1000 kids.
- That’s 3.9 million Australians who have arthritis and more than half of these people are working age (15-64 years).
- By 2030, it is projected that this number will increase to 5.4 million Australians.
Amelia has juvenile idiopathic polyarticular arthritis.
Amelia, 6, was diagnosed with juvenile idiopathic polyarticular arthritis when she was 17 months old. The condition progressed from her knees to her wrists, ankles and fingers.
‘I first knew something was wrong when Amelia was 16 months old and couldn’t straighten her legs in the morning,’ said her mother Lisa. ‘She couldn’t walk properly, cried all day and all night and couldn’t play with her friends or at the park anymore. She always had temperatures between 38–39 degrees, sometimes higher. But most of all, it was the constant pain my poor baby was going through.
‘I took Amelia to five different doctors and was told it was a viral infection or it was behavioural and would pass. One GP sent us to a paediatrician at John Hunter Hospital. We didn’t get any answers, but as we were leaving the hospital, Amelia had a seizure. She was admitted for three days with blood tests, neurological testing and much more. On the third day Dr Jeffrey Chaitow saw us and told me that Amelia had juvenile arthritis. Her seizure was a febrile seizure from the undiagnosed inflammation throughout the body.
‘Since then, Amelia has been trialled on five medications. She went into remission after a few months on methotrexate, naproxen and prednisone. However, the side effects were too much for her. Another medication worked very well for two years and she was in remission. Unfortunately, Amelia began to develop chronic iritis and her medication changed again.
‘Amelia missed a lot of daycare. The constant fevers meant she was sent home a lot. At school, she isn’t as fast or as able to climb on equipment as her friends – this limits her playtime which upsets her. Sports day is hard when she is having a flare up or if she has had a big week. Amelia has anxiety from the pain her new needle causes. Amelia loves dancing although she complains of pain after most lessons, and swims two days a week which helps her arthritis.’
Thank you to Amelia for sharing her story.
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Statistics Source: Arthritis Australia