Friday, January 24, 2014

DuPage Officials Dedicate Jan. 26 as Kawasaki Awareness Day

DuPage County Press Release

Johnna Kelly
DuPage County Board members dedicated Jan. 26, 2014, as Kawasaki Disease Awareness Day in DuPage County.
Kawasaki Disease, or KD, is a serious illness characterized by the inflammation of blood vessels throughout the body. It is the No. 1 cause of permanent heart disease in children and is diagnosed in an estimated 5,000 U.S. children annually who are primarily under the age of 8. KD can lead to permanent heart disease, life-long aneurysms, stent placement, heart transplants, skin disorders and childhood anxiety.
The recognition of this disease was prompted by County Board member Liz Chaplin’s dedication to the issue on behalf of her daughter who had KD as a child.
Chaplin said her teenage daughter was diagnosed at the age of 7, however is healthy today because a doctor made the diagnosis quickly.
“We are very lucky because my daughter’s doctor recognized the symptoms immediately. Since she was treated so quickly and properly, she has been able to maintain a healthy lifestyle in her teenage years,” said Chaplin. “Unless a diagnosis is made within 10 days of the onset of the associated symptoms such as a high fever, the child can develop coronary aneurysms and heart disease that could result in long-term or permanent damage.”
Chaplin said the DuPage County Health Department will send a fact sheet about KD to emergency rooms, schools and daycare centers to notify parents of the signs and symptoms that may indicate the disease.
Recent instances of young adults suffering heart attacks in their 20’s and 30’s show evidence of old aneurysms and a missed diagnosis of KD as a child. Missed diagnosis of KD can lead to permanent heart disease and untimely death, placing an unnecessary financial burden on the health care system. Through proper and comprehensive diagnosis and treatment, the symptoms and effects of KD can be substantially decreased and quality of life for the individual can be improved.
A lack of public awareness and understanding of the disease plays a significant role in the overwhelming numbers of undiagnosed and untreated cases of KD, and the dissemination of inaccurate, misleading information contributes to the obstacles preventing diagnosis and treatment of the disease.
Chaplin urges physicians and parents to learn the facts about KD in order to seek appropriate treatment and care.
“If your child is sick and you feel that it’s more than a common cold, trust your instincts and seek another opinion,” said Chaplin, who has known other children who suffer from KD and have life-altering conditions.

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