When Emily Johnson developed rheumatoid arthritis at the age of 20, the pain was excruciating. But she soon learned to manage the condition with a change in diet and lifestyle.
Emily was in her final year of university when the ring finger on her right hand started to swell up. Soon the painful swelling had spread to another finger and thumbs and her skin became sensitive to touch. “It was excruciating. I couldn’t move my hands as they were stiff with fluid. It was too painful to type and I could barely hold a pen,” says Johnson. Next came the sneezing fits. “I couldn’t sleep or even talk for sneezing, but I passed it off as a cold or hay fever.”
Emily was referred to a rheumatologist, who, after initially telling her it was all in her head, eventually diagnosed seronegative arthritis, a form of rheumatoid arthritis (RA), where the body’s immune system attacks the joints.