Swindon AdvertiserMeet the face of arthritis campaign (From Swindon Advertiser)

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Meet the face of arthritis campaign

Swindon Advertiser: Carla Carter Carla Carter

A YOUNG mother has been chosen to front a campaign shining the light on rheumatoid arthritis, a condition she was diagnosed with at the age of just 29.

Carla Carter, 35, from Haydon Wick, is among three sufferers across the UK chosen to feature on posters and pamphlets to promote Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness from June 16 to 22.

The mother-of-one first experienced unusual stiffness and discomfort in her hands and feet during her honeymoon in Goa in November 2007, but put the pain down to the humid weather.

On her return to the UK she was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis, an auto-immune disease.

The debilitating illness caused her immune system to attack the cells that lined her joints, making them swollen, stiff and painful and damaging her bones.

“When we were in Goa I had stiff wrists and feet in the morning, I was aching and I had swollen fingers but I thought it was because it was very humid,” said the clinical audit facilitator for Avon and Wiltshire Partnership, the region’s mental health services. “I also had sore ankles and toes.

“I had already been getting wrist pain using my computer before but I just thought it was repetitive stress injury at the time.

“When I was diagnosed with it at the end of 2007 it was a shock. I started taking methotrexate, which is a chemotherapy drug, in small doses to lower my immune system to try and stop to the joints from being damaged. But it means you are more prone to infections.”

In order to get pregnant, Carla came off her medication, which led to more bone damage. In 2010 she gave birth to baby Isabel. Two years later, she had to have her right wrist entirely replaced.

“During the pregnancy my wrist became really bad,” she said. “I couldn’t move it sometimes, my fingers got stuck in the palm of my hand – it was really painful. I had to get steroid injections.

“It was hard when Isabel was born, having to lift her with stiff hands.

“Now because of my wrist replacement I am not allowed to lift anything heavier than five pounds on that wrist so it’s not easy. I find it hard to lift Isabel in a shopping trolley, for example. Doing normal things and being a normal mum, I have to be careful.”

Last year Carla underwent further surgery after one of the tendons in her right hand snapped.

By sharing her story and standing proof to the fact that RA can affect anyone no matter their age, Carla is hoping to correct the public’s misconceptions and raise awareness of sufferers’ daily struggles.

“I wanted to raise the profile of the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society and hopefully help those that may be suffering like me in Swindon; especially those that are young,” she added. “And I wanted to promote the awareness week in general. The key is getting the disease recognised by GPs first to enable people to get the correct treatment.”

To find out more about Rheumatoid Arthritis Awareness Week go on www.nras.org.uk.

Comments (2)

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10:38am Wed 28 May 14

towney says...

That is nothing, wait until you have RA in nearly every joint from the neck down to your toes and then you will have something to complain about. I was 25 when I was diagnosed with it in my hands and now I am 40 and can barely walk, so it is not unusual.
That is nothing, wait until you have RA in nearly every joint from the neck down to your toes and then you will have something to complain about. I was 25 when I was diagnosed with it in my hands and now I am 40 and can barely walk, so it is not unusual. towney
  • Score: 1

2:53pm Fri 30 May 14

twinnywinny says...

Two of my daughters have been diagnosed since last year and are using crutches having ra in every joint they are 17 and 19 ..my 17 year old has one of her hands sticking a fixed position and one of her feet flat due to the ankle being completely seized ..she is awaiting surgery .. It happens to more people than we think ..never did we think when both daughters were experiencing pain was it ra ..Our 19 year old is using walking aids too and is at uni coping with the stress if every day life .. not enough is done in the hospitals to help young people with them having to wait months for appointments and constant med changes to see what will work on trials etc .. its very hard for a teenager to lead a normal life 24/7 ..x
Two of my daughters have been diagnosed since last year and are using crutches having ra in every joint they are 17 and 19 ..my 17 year old has one of her hands sticking a fixed position and one of her feet flat due to the ankle being completely seized ..she is awaiting surgery .. It happens to more people than we think ..never did we think when both daughters were experiencing pain was it ra ..Our 19 year old is using walking aids too and is at uni coping with the stress if every day life .. not enough is done in the hospitals to help young people with them having to wait months for appointments and constant med changes to see what will work on trials etc .. its very hard for a teenager to lead a normal life 24/7 ..x twinnywinny
  • Score: 1

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