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Coming to terms with arthritis - a Redditch woman tells her story
12:00pm Monday 8th October 2012 in Local
AS part of National Arthritis Week, which runs from October 8-14, a Redditch woman has spoken of how she coped after being diagnosed with lupus.
A national survey recently commissioned by the medical research charity Arthritis Research UK has revealed that nearly a quarter of Great Britain’s population admits they have a poor understanding of arthritis, the biggest cause of pain and disability in the UK.
A total of 10 million UK people, including over 15,000 children, are affected by arthritis and musculoskeletal conditions, yet 71 per cent of people in the West Midlands are unaware that children under the age of 10 can be affected.
A National Arthritis Week survey also revealed that while 77 per cent of people in the region consider arthritis a serious condition, 46 per cent believe arthritis means aches and pains when you get old.
The term ‘arthritis’ actually describes around 200 conditions affecting bones, joints and muscles, some of which can cause the immune system to attack and seriously damage internal organs.
Kay Escott, aged 47, from Redditch, was diagnosed with autoimmune disease lupus, a form of arthritis, 10 years ago and the condition has had a severe effect on her life.
Her symptoms began with fatigue and stiff joints and, three months before a trip of a lifetime around the world, the lupus caused her immune system to attack her kidneys and joints.
She became very poorly with a suspected blood clot on her lung and became so weak that she had to use a wheelchair. Thanks to the staff and treatments at the Queen Elizabeth Hospital, she has been able to slowly regain her mobility but still has poor kidney function and slight breathing problems, as well as a small amount of vasculitis in her lungs.
She said: “Fortunately I’ve been able to regain my independence. I don't need to use a wheelchair anymore and the cocktail of medications I take mean the lupus is generally under control and my immune system is behaving.
“Arthritis isn't just 'aches and pains' as you get older. I'm living with lupus but I don't allow it to take over my life. I want other people living with lupus to know there is light at the end of the tunnel.”
Alan Silman, Arthritis Research UK medical director, said: ”Early diagnosis and treatment can make a huge difference. There may be many people with painful joints and reduced quality of life who have not consulted their GP and are not aware of the many treatments and self-help measures that could drastically relieve their pain.”
For more information, see nationalarthritisweek.org.uk.