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My hands are gnarly and painful, but I won't let arthritis take over; FIVE PAGES OF HEALTH, BEAUTY AND LIFESTYLE SCOTS TELLY STAR AGGIE MACKENZIE IS DETERMINED ILL HEALTH WILL NOT WIN.

HOW Clean Is Your House? presenter Aggie MacKenzie discovered she had rheumatoid arthritis when she was in her mid-30s.

It doesn't give her constant pain or stop her from exercising but she is wary that it will get worse.

She explained how she manages the pain through exercise and a concoction of natural remedies.

After taking part in Dancing on Ice four years ago, Aggie, now 56, says she couldn't possibly put her body through that sort of pressure again.

"I was about 36 when I first started getting rheumatoid arthritis and I've always been in slight denial about it," says Aggie, who has two sons, Rory, 20, and Ewan, 16.

"Both my parents had rheumatoid arthritis and, because it's genetic, I had a high chance of getting it myself. I knew what it was when I started getting pain in my hands.

"I had a blood test that showed I had it and, although it didn't affect me too much at the time, it's got worse as I've got older and now my fingers are very gnarly on the joints.

"My third finger on my right hand looks especially gnarly and horrible. It's just unattractive and the pain can vary. If I bang them or someone shakes my hand very firmly, I wince. You get a shooting pain and then more of a headachey, dull, thudding pain.

"I also find it hard removing jar lids and bottle tops, but you deal with it.

"I don't let it stop me from doing exercise. I do yoga every week, I cycle most days and run every morning around the local park, about 1.5km. I do a 5km run every other Saturday, too. I think it's good to keep the joints moving and I find it really helps. It just keeps everything going."

Competing in Dancing on Ice in 2008 was more of a challenge than Aggie, from Rothiemurchus, near Aviemore, imagined. She danced with Sergey Malyshev until she was eliminated in the fourth week.

Although she says she only has mental scars from the experience, she was in agony at the time. "I got out of a car during that time and I felt about 90," she said. "I was all hunched over and couldn't walk properly. It was really bad and that was purely because of all the falling over and getting yanked around so much, not because of the arthritis. I think everything else was in so much pain that it probably overruled that!

"I went into a pharmacy and asked which painkillers were almost prescription strength and would kill pain without sending me doolally!" The presenter started taking a concoction of vitamin tablets, herbal remedies, ordinary painkillers and energy pills to help with aches and pains.

everyday life' ofen She took guarana and Berocca for energy, arnica tablets for bruising, ibuprofen and paracetamol, ginkgo biloba, which helps the memory - as well as her usual daily intake of vitamin B, cod liver oil, Glucosamine and honeygar, a mix of organic cider vinegar and Manuka honey, which she read explorer Ranulph Fiennes takes to help his back pain. "I'm not a pill opper b po Aggie acu popper but I was desperate," said Aggie. "I went for some acupuncture, too, which really helped. Every week it was a new routine so I had a new pain in a different part. I couldn't do the show now."

let it reithdd my Aggie remembers her dad suffering from rheumatoid arthritis in his and her mum has d rh feet arthrit "M d arthritic pain in her joints. "Mum doesn't suffer too much from it, luckily, but when my dad was alive, he had it in his feet so he couldn't stand for a long period of time as it hurt too much.

"He used to love playing darts but would need a rest when he'd been on his feet for too long.

"I have no idea if my kids are likely to get it. Their dad doesn't have any arthritis in his family, so who knows? "It's just a part of my life. I try not to think about it too much. I have my daily routine of tablets before my run and that's it. I no longer take any prescription drugs or painkillers. I don't let it affect everyday life."

Aggie is working with cleaning company Krcher to launch the first ever window vac. Visit www.karcher.co.uk for details.

THE TRUTH ABOUT RHEUMATOID ARTHRITIS "RHEUMATOID arthritis is the most serious of the inflammatory arthritic conditions," says David Isenberg, Arthritis Research UK's professor of rheumatology.

"It occurs in about 450,000 people in the UK, traditionally more women than men by a factor of about 3:1 and generally to those aged 35 to 55, although it can occur in children and as late as 80.

"It's caused by the inflammation of tissues in the small joints of the hands and feet. Symptoms are pain, swelling and stiffness, especially in the morning. It can be excruciating.

"Gnarly hands and feet, as well as swelling of the knees, elbows and wrists, can make it very difficult to do daily tasks.

"Some drugs and natural remedies can make symptoms easier to manage. We can't offer cures but we can offer hope and support. Prospects are much better now than they were 10 years ago."

www.arthritisresearchuk.org 'I take the tablets, I don't let it affect my everyday life'

CAPTION(S):

HOSTS: Z With Kim Woodburn on How Clean Is Your House? ENERGY: Z Dancing on Ice with Sergey Malyshev BATTLE: Z Aggie tells of the impact of arthritis
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Apr 3, 2012
Words:938
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