'Beverly Hills 90210' actor Jennie Garth reveals her diagnosis of early-onset osteoarthritis and says it won't slow her down

  • Jennie Garth was told she had osteoarthritis at the age of 47.

  • She said the degenerative disease can strike young people as well as the elderly.

  • Garth believes activities like stretching, hiking, and playing golf help ease her symptoms.

Three years ago, actress Jennie Garth began to feel stiffness in her fingers and hands and pain in her knees when she went from sitting to standing.

The star, best-known for her role in the 1990s hit show "Beverly Hills 90210," suspected that something was wrong. But she said she was shocked to be diagnosed with early-onset osteoarthritis at the age of 47.

"I was like, I'm too young for arthritis," she told Insider, recalling how an orthopedic doctor identified the issue after she had X-rays and an MRI.

Garth has the most common form of degenerative disease. It happens when the cartilage that protects the ends of bones wears down as time goes by. The irreversible tissue damage can lead to the need for surgery, such as hip, shoulder, or knee replacements.

But instead of thinking the worst about her future, the mom of three has a positive attitude. "It was just a new, interesting development in my maturing," she said.

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Sports like golf have helped relieve the symptoms

Garth, who celebrated her 50th birthday in April, added: "You don't think of yourself as slowing down or anything stopping you from all the things you do every day."

She finds that stretching and other types of movement ease her symptoms, particularly playing golf and hiking with her dogs near her home in Los Angeles.

"When you know what you're dealing with physically, there's always a workaround," said Garth. "I definitely don't let anything limit me."

She does not take medication for her condition but often applies a topical, over-the-counter gel that she said offers "relief" to any aches in her joints.

It took time before she felt comfortable enough to tell other people about her osteoarthritis. "I didn't want to be that person who talks about their ailments," Garth said.

She wants to make younger people aware that osteoarthritis doesn't just affect the elderly

Garth is speaking out now in a bid to demystify the disease among younger people. "When you hear the word arthritis, you associate it with the elderly and people who are immobile who can't live an active life," she said.

Garth said that her situation shows that the disease can strike anyone. She advised those experiencing the same kind of aches she has suffered to consult their doctor.

She has faced other health problems in the past. In 2009, she revealed that she was diagnosed with a leaky heart valve at the age of 30. "Down the road, it's something that could get more complicated or not," she told People magazine at the time. "People have had valve replacements and that kind of thing."

Read the original article on Insider