Claire revealed she suffers from rheumatoid arthritis, a disorder which affects the joints of the hands, fee, wrists, elbows, knees and ankles. The actress shared her fears when she gets older living with the disorder and possibly feeling like she was being a burden. Claire, who is divorced with no children and currently looking after her elderly disabled parents, is all too familiar with how tough the experience it can be. As a result of her condition, Claire has had the joints in her fingers removed and replaced with plates.
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Speaking to the Sunday Mirror, Claire revealed: “I do worry about when I’m older and becoming a burden on the people around me.
“I can understand why people choose assisted dying – and it’s getting to the point where I would consider it myself.
“I’m not going to be hurting any offspring as I haven’t got any. Most of my family will be gone.
“It’s not a selfish thing. It’s a decision at a certain age, when you’re becoming a burden to others.”
Claire first thought about euthanasia while playing Kim Tate in Emmerdale.
The actress said: “When I first joined Frank got rid of his first wife through euthanasia, so it was one of those topics we talked about.
“I have friends who are disabled or really unwell. They say, ‘If it gets much worse take me to the clinic’.
“And I say, ’No way, I could be done for that!’ But I’m not pro-euthanasia as opposed to having no quality of life.”
Claire has battled with arthritis for 30 years.
Speaking to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society, the star said: “Being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis was a terrifying experience.
“I struggled to go to work and do the things I love, like horse-riding, because of the terrible pressure it put on my knees but to anyone watching me this wouldn’t have been obvious.”
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What is rheumatoid arthritis and the symptoms to spot?
The Mayo Clinic explained: “Rheumatoid arthritis is a chronic inflammatory disorder that can affect more than just your joints.
“In some people, the condition can damage a wide variety of body systems, including the skin, eyes, lungs, heart and blood vessels.
“An autoimmune disorder, rheumatoid arthritis occurs when your immune system mistakenly attacks your own body’s tissues.
“Symptoms include tender, warm, swollen joints, joint stiffness that is usually worse in the mornings and after inactivity, fatigue, fever and loss of appetite.”
For Claire, taking supplements for her rheumatoid arthritis has made a big difference.
The actress takes omega 3 which according to the National Rheumatoid Arthritis Society has ‘good evidence’ of its benefits in improving the symptoms of the disorder.
In addition to her omega 3’s, Claire takes B vitamins and methylsulfonylmethane (MSM) which is a form of sulphur believed to help maintain cartilage and joints.
“As soon and I stop my supplements I notice the difference and I feel more in more pain,” added Claire.
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