Adam Thomas has candidly opened up about being diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis ahead of his Strictly Come Dancing stint.
The ex-Emmerdale actor, 35, is set to take to the dance floor on this year's series of the BBC One show alongside the likes of Bobby Brazier, Angela Scanlon, Ellie Leach and Les Dennis.
Dad-of-two Adam's hectic schedule with dance training and filming the new series of Waterloo Road has proven difficult to manage, along with his rheumatoid arthritis, which he was diagnosed with earlier this year.
He began experiencing shooting pains in his knees, before travelling to his wrists, fingers, ankles and toes, but it wasn't until he'd undergone several blood tests and taken numerous trips to the hospital he found out what was wrong.
“I’ve not talked about this before but no-one really knows the pain I’ve been going through,” he told the Mirror. “I put on a brave face but it’s been difficult to keep that persona up. Emotionally and physically, it’s had a huge impact on my life this year.”
Some days Adam could barely walk and there were also times where he struggled to get out bed, which impacted his mental health massively.
The Waterloo Road star continued: “I just never saw this coming and I didn’t know what was happening to me. I was like: ‘Can someone just give me an answer as to what is going on.’ The pain was such that I couldn’t even walk down stairs and I could just stay in bed all day because it can be quite severe. I could have good days and bad days, but on the bad days, it was really, really bad.”
Despite his struggles, Adam has revealed he's been learning lots about his condition and is determined to see the positives.
“I feel like everything happens for a reason, I really do, and I know that I’m going to be a lot stronger at the end of all this because of what I’ve been through,” he said. “I am not alone, and I’m learning more and more about the condition, not least how it can affect everyone, including young children.”
Rheumatoid arthritis is an autoimmune disease which mistakenly attacks the cells that line your joints. There is no cure, but early treatment and lifestyle changes can reduce the risk of joint damage.
Adam also said his Strictly stint has come at the perfect time, as it's provided him with an opportunity to "get fit" and "move again" all the while aiming to stay positive.
Strictly Come Dancing 2023 begins on BBC One on Saturday 16 September.
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