For the past three years, Jennie Garth has been secretly living with early-onset osteoarthritis.
The "Beverly Hills 90210" alum publicly opened up about her diagnosis for the first time with Insider on Thursday, May 5.
"I was like, I'm too young for arthritis," she recalled thinking when her orthopedic doctor identified the issue in 2019, which came after a series of tests, including X-rays and and MRI.
Rather than letting the diagnosis get her down, the actress, now 50, looked at the cup as half full.
"It was just a new, interesting development in my maturing," she said. "You don't think of yourself as slowing down or anything stopping you from all the things you do every day."
Early-onset osteoarthritis, a common form of degenerative disease, happens when cartilage wears down and fails to adequately protect the bone. Although Jennie doesn't take any medication for her aches, she uses an over-the-counter gel to ease the pain. Plus, she stretches and stays active.
"When you know what you're dealing with physically, there's always a workaround," she said. "I definitely don't let anything limit me."
The mother-of-three detailed why she initially hid her diagnosis from the public, nothing, "I didn't want to be that person who talks about their ailments." Now, though, she wants destigmatize the disease that is most often associated with an older demographic.
"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. That belief, Jennie says, is flat out wrong.