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Child's Play - Lupus Now(R) Magazine Explores Activities for Children With a Chronic Condition
Date:3/5/2008

WASHINGTON, March 5 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Learning that your child has a chronic illness is never easy, especially when it's the unpredictable and potentially fatal autoimmune disease lupus. When it comes to physical activities for children, most parents prefer to err on the side of caution -- but medical experts say that may be a mistake. The spring issue of the Lupus Foundation of America (LFA) national magazine, Lupus Now(R), reports that once a child's lupus has been stabilized and he or she is feeling better, the child should be given every opportunity to participate in activities that he or she enjoys.

"In my 30 years in this business, I've learned that a child's life will be more damaged by being told he can't do things [because of illness] than because he has the illness," says Thomas J.A. Lehman, M.D., chief of the division of pediatric rheumatology at the Hospital for Special Surgery, and professor of clinical pediatrics at Cornell University in New York.

"When it comes to sports and activities, the key emphasis is this: When possible, let the child decide," says Lehman. "They shouldn't be held back because you tell them not to try. After all, physical activity is good for everyone. Some may realize they can't do one thing or another, but then go out and surprise even me by finding out what they can do."

"Regular activity does lots of good for any child, including those with lupus," says Kathleen O'Neil, M.D., a pediatric rheumatologist and associate professor at the University of Oklahoma Health Sciences Center in Oklahoma City. "In particular, aerobic conditioning helps keep the heart and blood vessels in good shape. Weight bearing exercise helps strengthen bones and exercise helps prevent obesity, high blood lipid levels, diabetes, and all those inactivity-related problems that are epidemic in today's America."

The spring issue of Lupus Now provides parents practical tips on how to help their child adjust
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SOURCE Lupus Foundation of America
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