Arthritis not just for the elderly - WAFF-TV: News, Weather and Sports for Huntsville, AL

Arthritis not just for the elderly

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Clements said newer medicines stopped the progression, but can't reverse the damage. Clements said newer medicines stopped the progression, but can't reverse the damage.
HUNTSVILLE, AL (WAFF) -

Arthritis is usually associated with the elderly. However, it can also strike the very young. Nalani Clements said her younger years were normal until she reached age 12.

"I went to the hospital and they kept saying it was leukemia, and they called a specialist in," said Clements. Several doctors later, there was a new diagnosis. "It came back that it was not Leukemia, but in fact it was Juvenile Rhematoid Arthritis. With the severity of the disease, and it was still affecting all of my joints, that more than likely I would not graduate high school. That I would be bed ridden."

The disease went into remission until she was 18, so she did graduate from high school in 1994, and even worked a while before it returned.

"I couldn't hardly walk," she continued. "It was just killing me to get up and walk across the floor."

Stiffness and aches invaded every joint, including her hands.

"My hands were perfect and good all through high school, and even working because I worked with computers. When I had surgery in 95, they did surgery on my right hand, and after surgery my hands just started closing."

She was confined to a wheel chair for nine years. She said after some divine intervention, she started walking again. She said newer medicines stopped the progression, but can't reverse the damage. Nalani wanted others to know about the disease.

"This is not just something you see in nursing homes," said Clements. "This is not just an old people disease."

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