Claire King has always had a theatrical bent. Having started out as a disc jockey, she went on to manage, sing and keyboards in the alternative pop group Fidei and later To Be Continued as lead singer. She then crossed over into television, joining the cast of Emmerdale as Kim Tate, a role she has played off and one for over thirty years. Her talent and zeal for artistic expression only tells one side of her story so far, however.
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The actress has also openly addressed her long-standing battle with rheumatoid arthritis over the years.
Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes painful joints, as well as stiffness and swelling.
Claire spoke candidly about her condition to MailOnline in 2017: “I was shocked and devastated when I was diagnosed with arthritis at 30.
“You presume it’s an older person’s disease. Nowadays, I have had to give up bombing round on a race horse at 40 miles an hour but I still go for a hack.
“It doesn’t hold me back, it’s manageable. You’ve just got to get on with it.”
Despite her optimism, Claire has a nagging fear that her symptoms will become impossible to manage in later life.
What are the common symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis?
According to the NHS, rheumatoid arthritis can cause problems in any joint in the body, although the small joints in the hands and feet are often the first to be affected.
The main symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are joint pain, swelling and stiffness.
The actress was initially alerted to the condition after she experienced throbbing and painful fingers.
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It may also cause more general symptoms, and inflammation in other parts of the body.
“The symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis often develop gradually over several weeks, but some cases can progress quickly over a number of days,” explains the NHS.
It adds: “You may experience flares when your condition deteriorates and your symptoms become worse.”
How to manage symptoms
Rheumatoid arthritis cannot be cured, but steps can be taken to alleviate symptoms and maintain quality of life.
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Claire has found the combination of exercise, supplements and eating a nutritious diet to be an effective coping strategy.
How can exercise improve rheumatoid arthritis symptoms?
As the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society explains (NRAS), people with rheumatoid arthritis might be worried that exercise will make rheumatoid arthritis and its symptoms, such as pain, worse.
“This is not the case and studies evaluating exercise programmes have shown that exercise does not make your arthritis worse,” explains the NRAS.
In fact, there is quite a lot of evidence now that exercise can improve muscle strength, function and the ability to do everyday things as well as reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease,” notes the health body.
What is the best exercises to alleviate symptoms?
According to the Arthritis Foundation, engaging in water sports is an effective way to alleviate symptoms associated with arthritis.
The health body explains: “Aquatic exercises are especially gentle on painful joints because water helps to support your weight, which reduces joint stress, and exercising in warm water helps to reduce stiffness.”
Strength exercises also ease the stress off weakened joints by strengthening the muscles around them, adds the health site.
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