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Jennie Garth’s Balancing Act

The 90210 star talks about her healthy lifestyle, volunteering, and parenting a child with juvenile rheumatoid arthritis.

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About two weeks into her fevers our regular pediatrician, who is wonderful, sought the opinions of doctors at a very well known hospital here in LA. Our daughter's blood tests were very abnormal. She was admitted and after nine days of testing and prodding they still were not able to determine what was causing her symptoms.  

Since they could not treat her because they were not sure what the illness was, we decided to take her home and monitor her because we felt being in the hospital was actually making her depressed and worsening her condition. The last five days in the hospital she did not get out of bed at all. We went home and researched it on our own, with help from friends and family in the medical profession until we found web sites for JRA, which seemed to match her symptoms.

We brought her to an incredible specialist at UCLA hospital, who then treated her for "still's disease," a rare form of JRA. They put her on [the drug] Naprosyn, which stopped the fevers immediately, and she stayed on that for several months. Her rash remained constant until a short course of steroids. She responded well to the treatment, and is now in remission. 

My husband and I have never been more thankful to God, that we were able to get her through this and that she is back to her old self, running and playing.      

What’s the best parenting advice you have ever received or given?

Some good advice I've received is to get down on the floor and play with the kids. They love when you let the sink fill up with dishes and don't seem to care. I would say that reading to your kids every night is very important. It really makes a difference in their love for reading later on. So, turn off the TV and grab a book.

What beauty secret do you have for looking so young?

I take really good care of my skin and never go to bed with makeup on. Ever!

How do you avoid the temptation of the craft-service table while shooting long days and nights?

Sometimes you just have to have a Twix or a bag of Fritos to get you through the day/night. But, I bring my own nuts and celery to work to help me stay away from the sugar.

What’s your best health habit?

My best health habit would be to not have habits -- like smoking or drinking!  As you hopefully know, those things will kill you, or if not, make you look way older than you are.

What’s your worst?

My worst health habit is sugar, no doubt.

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