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Learn about Childhood Rheumatic Diseases

Parents wish their children lead a healthy and happy life. Inadequate understanding of paediatric diseases, however, hinders them from identifying the health problems of their children, leading to delay of treatment and hence giving rise to devastating consequences to the children.

Subsequent to launching of two public education books last year, the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, has launched a new book of the series entitled 'Childhood Rheumatic Diseases 3 - The Paediatric Diseases You Must Learn' to be distributed together with multimedia DVDs. Through the experience of some child patients, the books serve to enhance public awareness and protect the health of children by introducing common paediatric diseases in a layman-friendly manner. The book was on shelf during the '2010 Hong Kong Book Fair' held at the Hong Kong Convention and Exhibition Centre in July 2010, priced at HKD$65 each.

Professor Lau Yu-lung, Doris Zimmern Professor in Community Child Health, Chair Professor and Head of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine, who chairs the Editorial Board of the series said, "Apart from enhancing the standard of medical science and education in Hong Kong, the Department also shoulders the responsibility to help public correctly understand paediatric diseases. We received overwhelming support and positive comments for the two books on 'atopic eczema' and 'food allergy' presented last year, and the new edition will be available soon. We shall continue to produce the series of books and DVDs so as to retain this excellent platform for paediatric patients and their parents to better understand various children diseases."

The Editorial Board of this book also includes Dr. Lee Tsz-leung, Honorary Clinical Assistant Professor of the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine, The University of Hong Kong Li Ka Shing Faculty of Medicine. The income generated will go to the Fund of the Department which will finance the production and publicity of more books on paediatric diseases.

Book 3 - Childhood Rheumatic Diseases
'Childhood Rheumatic Diseases' explored the very common chronic childhood rheumatic diseases through the experiences of three patients and their parents.

Many people think rheumatism will only attack the elderly, while in fact it is a common illness found in children. In Hong Kong, one in every thousand kids suffers from the disease. Among the over 100 kinds of paediatric rheumatic diseases, juvenile idiopathic arthritis, juvenile dermatomyositis and systemic lupus erythematosus are the most common ones.

Rheumatic diseases refers to the autoimmune inflammatory disorder that the immune system wrongly attacks his/her own body parts, resulting in inflammatory damage. It is believed that the diseases are caused by multi-factorial factors like genetic factors and environmental factors such as infection. The diseases can muddle the children's growth and study. If the child patients are not treated timely, severe and long-term damages will be caused to their physical functions, or even worse, leading to death.

According to Dr. Lee, symptoms of rheumatic diseases include joint pain or joint swelling, muscle weakness, excessive fatigue, rash and fever. If the parents are alert of these symptoms, delay of remedies can be minimized in case their children are attacked by the diseases. Dr. Lee said that although the diseases cannot be cured in some diseases types, the advancement in treatment in recent years allows effective management over the diseases and hence minimizing the destruction to the body. He suggested that parents who have doubts over the diseases should not hesitate to consult the doctor.

With the publication of these books in Chinese, the Department of Paediatrics and Adolescent Medicine hopes that the public can have a proper understanding of some common paediatric diseases, and be supportive as well as compassionate to the affected children and parents.

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