Kathleen Turner Raises Her Voice About Rheumatoid Arthritis

Years of Silent Suffering Inspires Powerful Message in Support of Early Diagnosis and Treatment

February 2002 (Newstream) -- Award-winning actress Kathleen Turner is spearheading a new educational campaign to raise awareness about rheumatoid arthritis, otherwise known as RA, a disease she has waged a personal battle with for over 10 years. Because of her personal and frustrating struggle with RA, Turner wants to help others avoid the debilitating joint damage and disfigurement that can occur if it is not detected early and treated aggressively. Nearly 2.1 million Americans have RA, which can be difficult to diagnose because it can begin gradually with subtle, often inconsistent symptoms including painful swollen joints, fatigue and prolonged morning stiffness. Like most autoimmune diseases, the average time from onset until diagnosis of RA is three to five years.

Known for her energetic and seductive roles on stage and screen, Kathleen Turner hasn't let RA impede her career, despite the sometimes severe pain and joint stiffness. Now, she wants others to know that RA does not have to mean a lifetime of limitations.

"The year before I was diagnosed was terribly frightening. I didn't know what was happening to me. I didn't know why there was so much pain, and why I felt so ill, " said Kathleen Turner. "I'm involved in this campaign because I want people to know that they can get information, to know that they can manage this disease, and they can fight for their lives and their lifestyle. I want them to know that there is help."

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