Kathleen Turner, an actress, has received two Golden Globe nominations and two medals for her distinctive voice. Behind the scenes, Turner was suffering from rheumatoid arthritis, a persistent autoimmune ailment. The diva struggled in silence for the duration of her career; it wasn’t until 2018 that she finally opened up about the severity of her health troubles.
Aside from the excruciating pain of her rheumatoid arthritis, the actress’s medication had significant adverse effects, including making her brain “fuzzy.” Turner, 67, admitted that it was “difficult to understand the level of pain that [her] disease brings,” despite having achieved incredible career highlights such as co-starring with Michael Douglas in the Netflix drama The Kominsky Method and providing the voice of Jessica Rabbit in Who Framed Roger Rabbit.
Turner, who was diagnosed with an autoimmune disease in her late 30s, attempted to conceal the origin of her sickness owing to Hollywood pressure and a lack of broad knowledge of autoimmune disorders at the time.
“Rheumatoid arthritis occurred in my late 30s – the end of my years when Hollywood would consider me a sexually appealing leading lady,” she told Vulture magazine.
My illness was a dreadful mystery at the time because so little information about autoimmune disorders was available to the general public.
“I was informed that I would require a wheelchair for the duration of my life owing to rheumatoid arthritis, and 20 years ago, there were no treatments like there are now. They were created about 18 years ago.
“My hands couldn’t hold a hug, and it would slide, and people would gasp ‘Oh’ as if I had been drinking or something,” Turner continued, emphasizing how severe her symptoms had become over time.
Rheumatoid arthritis, unlike other varieties of arthritis, develops when the body’s immune system, which usually fights infection, turns against itself and attacks the cells that line the joints.
As a result, these cells expand, stiffen, and cause joint pain. Along with these unpleasant feelings, cartilage and surrounding bone might experience irreparable damage over time.
According to the NHS, rheumatoid nodules can grow under the skin around injured joints, and pain and stiffness are generally worse in the mornings or after a period of inactivity.
Even while the symptoms of rheumatoid arthritis are similar to those of other types of arthritis, such as osteoarthritis, they can persist much longer than 30 minutes.
Furthermore, rheumatoid arthritis can cause general symptoms such as:
Exhaustion and a lack of enthusiasm
Sweating in hot weather and a loss of appetite
Rheumatoid arthritis can affect other body regions depending on where it originates, such as the chest and eyes.
Although the condition is incurable, the NHS notes that therapies for rheumatoid arthritis can help individuals stay as active as possible, reduce joint inflammation, relieve pain, prevent or slow joint degradation, and reduce disability.
These treatments are especially effective when started as soon as possible after diagnosis.
The two main drugs used to treat rheumatoid arthritis are biological treatments and disease-modifying anti-rheumatic medications (DMARDs).
When the immune system first attacks the joints, chemicals are released that DMARDs block. Once inhibited, these poisons cannot cause further damage to the surrounding cartilage, tendons, and bones.
On the other hand, biological therapies are injected and function by stopping specific blood molecules from inciting the immune system to attack the joints. Although very effective, this type of therapy has a variety of potential side effects, including:
Skin reactions at injection locations
Infections Do you have the flu? A feverish body temperature
In addition to specialized treatment, painkillers can temporarily relieve pain and inflammation, especially during flare-ups.
When combined with medication, physiotherapy can help a person become physically fit and have stronger muscles. A physiotherapist can also help pain management by using transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation, heat, or cold packs (TENS).
Surgery to replace the complete joint may be used if joint degradation persists despite treatment.