LIFESTYLE
04/06/2015 14:33 BST | Updated 04/06/2015 14:59 BST

Woman Who Suffered Severe Arthritis Aged 21 Claims Vegetables Helped Cure Her

A woman who was unable to pick up her hairbrush because she suffered severe arthritis has revealed how a change in diet has helped cure her condition.

Rebecca Clarke, 30, was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at 21 and relied on six painkillers a day, as well as steroids, to keep the pain at bay.

The hairdresser from Cardiff said she would often be unable to move her fingers because of the agony in her joints. But claims that, amazingly, she's now been cured by eating more veg.

arthritis

Clarke said she was inspired to live a healthier lifestyle after her husband Matthew, 34, became a personal trainer.

"He’s really healthy so I decided to get more into it too," she said.

"I didn’t know it would make me better. Two months in, I was able to move my joints and they weren’t as swollen, so I decided to keep it up."

Clarke revealed that she was first diagnosed with arthritis when she was a teenager.

"When it started, I didn’t have a clue what was going on," she said. "My gran is 91 and even she didn’t have arthritis. I felt like an old lady when they told me."

Aged 18, Clarke was a typical teen who enjoyed going out with friends.

"I was going on nights out every weekend, partying with the girls," she said. "I loved dressing up and spending hours getting ready."

But when she turned 19, she began to experience regular pain which she describes as being "similar to a toothache".

"It was just constant, a throbbing pain," she added. "It was all of my joints, my shoulders, elbows, knees but it was really bad in my hands."

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Clarke said that she tried to ignore the agony, but sometimes it would affect her social life: "I would still put on my heels for a night out and just take the pain. But I’d have to cancel so often, it was only on the day I would know if I could make it.

"Especially after work, it made my hands so sore I could hardly move them."

Clarke was left shocked when doctors diagnosed her with arthritis at the age of 21.

"I just thought it was embarrassing," she said. "I tried not to let anyone know because they’d just think I was joking. I don’t look like someone who would have arthritis. I’m very glam and outgoing."

She revealed that it would sometimes get her down, but she tried to conquer the pain.

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"Some days after work my finger would be in so much pain I couldn’t even pick up a hairbrush and do my hair," she added.

To cope, Clarke began taking steroids in 2007 and was regularly taking strong painkillers.

She also began taking GOPO Joint Health supplements, which have powerful natural anti-inflammatory properties.

Clarke, who admitted she was becoming reliant on steroids, was able to wean herself off them and adopt a healthier lifestyle in time for her wedding to former professional footballer Matthew Clarke, 34, at Cardiff city hall in May 2014.

"I was never going to let the arthritis stop me, that’s just not who I am," she said. "But now I’m no longer in pain."

clarke and her husband

Rebecca Clarke and her husband Matthew on their wedding day