A young medical student who was racked with pain first realised she had arthritis while studying the condition at university.
Melissa Tavendale, 20, first noticed her symptoms when her fingers began to cramp up during lectures at Dundee University.
While it is often associated with older people, inflammatory arthritis can affect people as young as 14, causing discomfort in the joints and making it harder to do certain tasks.
She said: I would have lectures which would go on for three or four hours and I would be sitting there in lots of pain.
“My fingers would also cramp up when I was typing my notes.
“It wasn’t until we started learning about the symptoms of arthritis in class that I realised that I might have it.”
Melissa claims that having arthritis as a young person can be challenging at times.
However, while she has described the condition as “painful”, she claims it doesn’t limit her abilities.
She said: “Alcohol aggravates my symptoms so I’ve had to cut back on going out.
“When I first got diagnosed my family were a bit confused, they were like – ‘you’re 18’.
“I’m a bit different from other people my age because I’m a medical student, so all my friends on the course sort of understand, but my family were confused by it.”
In an effort to help her condition, and others with it, Melissa has been taking part in the trial of a new app, which tracks and records symptoms.
The app was developed by Versus Arthritis, the UK’s largest charity of its kind, and allows users to rate and record their symptoms, as well as giving them access to information and advice.
The Arthritis Tracker also helps those living with the condition keep track of their pain, medication side effects, fatigue, physical activity, sleep and emotional wellbeing.
Melissa added: “I think it’s really easy to use, and it’s very user friendly.
“It makes it easy for young people to keep track of their symptoms and how they’re feeling.”
For more information on the app visit www.versusarthritis.org