Bob Mortimer health: ‘I’m falling to pieces’ – Comedian on his debilitating condition

Bob Mortimer says Paul Whitehouse is a 'walnut on a stick'

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Last year Bob suffered a horrific triple bypass which led to him having to have surgery. Doctors warned that 95 percent of his arteries were blocked and warned that he might even collapse while he was out on tour. Following on from his surgery Paul and Bob planned the popular BBC fishing programme as a therapy plan as Paul had also suffered with heart problems. However, for Bob it is another debilitating condition that affects him more nowadays.

The 62-year-old who’s quick wit and lovable goofiness has defined his career revealed that he suffers from rheumatoid arthritis.

Talking to Teeside Live he said: “My heart attack doesn’t impinge on my life at all, but it’s my f** joints that do!”

The comic went on to explain that it is particularly periods of stress that causes the arthritis to flare up. “Two days before a big gig, I would get it and I now know that if I am worried or stressed then bang, it returns with a vengeance,” Bob said.

Rheumatoid arthritis is a long-term condition that causes pain, swelling and stiffness in the joints. Typically it affects the hands, feet and wrists.

Unluckily for Bob, he suffers with arthritis in his eyes and even his prostate.

These places are rare for arthritis to occur, but when it affects the eyes it causes extreme dryness and if left untreated can cause damage to your cornea which is vital for helping your eye focus. The condition can also cause inflammation in the white part of your eye which in turn causes redness and can be extremely painful.

Bob commented: “Rheumatoid arthritis generally happens when your immune system attacks your joints, but I’ve had it attack my iris.”

In his true funny-man nature he added: “I got eye-arthritis,” and proceeded to burst into fits of laughter. “The worst one was arthritis in me b**s – I had that when we were filming Big Night Out!”

Although said with a laugh and a joke, arthritis can exist in both the prostate and testicles – although albeit extremely rare. It is known to medical professionals as testicular vasculitis.

Arthritis in the prostate, unlike other forms of arthritis, is caused by an infection in another part of your body. Known as reactive arthritis it causes swelling and pain in specific areas such as the intestines, genitals and urinary tract.

After his heart surgery and the ongoing joint pain Bob has had no choice but to significantly cut back on the amount of work he takes on.

“After my heart op, I can’t do as much. I’m falling to pieces,” he said. “I’ve a couple of fishing programmes to do and they modify what we film because of my weakness in fishing and my weakness of knees and my prostate!

“I haven’t had a knee replacement yet but I think that’s on its way. I hardly do any exercise because of my arthritis and my joints.”

Rheumatoid arthritis is caused when your immune system, which usually fights infection, attacks the cells that line your joints by mistake, causing severe discomfort.

Although there is no cure, the condition is manageable, especially if it is diagnosed early.

People with the condition often have periods of months or even years between flare ups, which allows them to still continue with their regular lives.

The main treatment options include medication, therapy and surgery.

Bob has been known to take steroids when his condition is particularly bad, but other common medication includes anti-inflammatory drugs.

Physical therapy is also a successful method of treatment. Doing regular exercises that keep your joints flexible can help to minimise stressful joint pain.

If all else fails, patients can undergo surgery. This aims to restore your ability to use your joints and can include joint fusion, tendon fusion and total joint replacement.

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