Claire King, 57, made her first appearance on ITV’s Emmerdale in 1989 and played the role of Kim Tate until 1999. After 19 years she then returned for her character to stir up more trouble on the cobbles. But prior to joining the Emmerdale cast, the actress was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an experience she’s described as “terrifying”.
I struggled to go to work and do the things I love, like horse-riding, because of the terrible pressure it put on my knees
Speaking to National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, Claire described the ordeal.
She said: “I struggled to go to work and do the things I love, like horse-riding, because of the terrible pressure it put on my knees but to anyone watching me this wouldn’t have been obvious.”
As part of one of its awareness week’s, the charity labelled the condition as an “invisible disease”.
Claire added, back in 2014: “I can certainly relate to this year’s theme, ‘Invisible disease’, because although my symptoms may not always show, it doesn’t mean I am not in pain or feeling exhausted.”
The actress first realised something was wrong when she woke up to a throbbing pain in her fingers, three days in a row.
He GP diagnosed her with rheumatoid arthritis, which is an auto-immune disease that causes inflammation of the joins.
Speaking to Mirror.co.uk back in 2009, she said: “I was diagnosed about 13 years ago, not long after I joined Emmerdale.
“I had started getting really bad aches in my hands, feet and knees – it felt like I had been hit with a hammer.
“My doctor put me on a course of medication and gave me some advice about helpful things to try to ease the pain.
“I would get up in the morning and be hobbling like an old woman because my joints hurt so much.
“I struggled to go to work and to do the things I love, like horse-riding, because of the pressure it put on my knees.”
To treat her arthritis, King has found supplements to be effective, taking omega-3 and B vitamins.
She also takes methylsulfonylmethane (MSM), a naturally occurring form of sulphur that is believed by many to help maintain cartilage and joints.
The star doesn’t follow a special diet, but tries to eat a balanced one, and finds exercise really makes a difference.
Speaking to Mail Online in 2017 she revealed: “I love walking, I live in the Dales so I’m out hiking every weekend. I’m lucky enough to have a second home in Spain with a pool so when I’m there I’m swimming every day.
“I do some stretching without fail every morning too which sets me up to feel better for the rest of the day.
“Exercise helps keep the joints mobile and just doing a little of what you can manage and what you enjoy can make a difference long-term.”
Rheumatoid arthritis symptoms
The NHS state the main symptoms of the condition as:
- Joint pain
The health body adds: “The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often develop gradually over several weeks, but some cases can progress quickly over a number of days.
“The symptoms vary from person to person. They can come and go, and may change over time. You may occasionally experience flares when your condition deteriorates and your symptoms become more severe.”
If you think you have the symptoms of arthritis, see your GP.
Another Emmerdale star who’s spoken about their health in the past is Matthew Wolfenden.
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