The New Face of Arthritis

By: Kristen Ross Email
By: Kristen Ross Email

Roughly 46 million people in the United States suffer from doctor diagnosed arthritis.
Of that 46 million, 300,000 are just children.

When you think of arthritis, a three-year-old probably isn't the first thing that comes to mind.

"You think of somebody who's retirement age," Trista Preston said. "Somebody who has lived a long and prosperous life, an older person's disease."

But Zoey Preston, 3, has lived with Juvenile Rheumatoid Arthritis for more than a year. It's a disease she's battled since she was just 18 months old.

"She had it not only in her knee, but in several other places as well," Preston said.

Trista Preston first noticed something was wrong with her daughter when she began walking funny, and complaining of pain in her right leg. It was pain that was so bad that at times it would keep the youngster off the playground.

"She would say, 'I can't walk'," Preston said. "She finally made it over to the chair, and I happened to look down and her knee was just really swollen."

When the swelling didn't go away doctors ruled out any kind of injury, or growing pains, and began to zero in on arthritis.

"When we were told she's going to have to be on medicine multiple times a day it's just kind of a shock," Preston said.

But the medicine is doing wonders. Once limited by pain in her joints, Zoey is now living life in the fast lane.

Zoey runs around the playground now, swings high on the swings, and even climbs a little playhouse at her daycare.

"She knows when she's reached her limit, she knows that she can not do everything she used to do at a non-stop pace," Preston said.

But that doesn't stop her from trying.

"Looking at Zoey you could never know she has arthritis," Preston said. "They can live a normal, happy, healthy life."

Some symptoms of Juvenile Arthritis include: limping, sore joints, joint swelling, stiffness in the neck hip or other joints, sudden rashes, or high fevers that tend to spike suddenly at night.

You can show your support for those suffering with arthritis Saturday and help raise awareness in the process.

The Bryan-College Station Arthritis Walk steps off Saturday morning at Veteran's Park and Athletic Complex.

Registration begins at 8:00 a.m. with the walk following at 9 a.m.

Proceeds raised from the event go towards research to help fight the disease.


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