Celebrities Living with Autoimmune Diseases
Despite suffering from fatigue, soreness, and aches every day, people with autoimmune diseases don’t always appear sick to others, and for that reason, autoimmune disorders affect a greater number of people than you might expect.
Approximately 4% of the world’s population suffers from one of more than 80 different autoimmune diseases, including type 1 diabetes, multiple sclerosis, rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Crohn’s disease, psoriasis, and scleroderma.
According to the National Institutes of Health, up to 24 million Americans suffer from autoimmune diseases. Many of them struggle for years to get a diagnosis and treatment, and there is no clear path to recovery.
What are autoimmune diseases?
When you have an autoimmune disease, your body's immune system unintentionally kills healthy cells.
The immune system typically defends against bacteria and viruses. As soon as it detects these foreign invaders, it immediately sends out an army of fighter cells to combat them.
Normally, the immune system can tell which cells are your own and which ones are not.
A majority of autoimmune diseases can’t be cured, but many of them can be managed.
Some celebrities with autoimmune disorders have been open and brave about their journeys. Often, their openness can be a gift to those who have been struggling with autoimmune conditions
Here are eight celebrities who have talked about their struggles, and successes with autoimmune disease.
Samantha Ruth Prabhu has Myositis
Samantha Ruth Prabhu announced in her most recent Twitter post on Oct 29, 2022, that she has been diagnosed with myositis, an autoimmune disease that causes muscle weakness.
Myositis is an auto-immune disease where the body's immune system attacks the muscles, resulting in inflammation, weakness, and pain.
Selena Gomez has Lupus
Selena Gomez, a pop celebrity disclosed to Billboard magazine in 2015 that she had to halt her world tour at age 21 to have chemotherapy for lupus, a chronic autoimmune disease that causes swelling, discomfort, and inflammation. She has also been candid about having anxiety and depression, both of which can be symptoms of the illness.
Lupus (SLE) can affect the skin, kidneys, blood cells, joints, brain, heart, and lungs.
While symptoms can vary, they may include joint pain, rash, tiredness, and fever. These may occasionally deteriorate (flare-ups) before recovering.
She revealed on Instagram in 2017 that she needed a kidney transplant due to difficulties with her lupus.
Gomez also disclosed in April 2020 that she had bipolar disorder.
Episodes of mood swings, ranging from manic to depressed highs, are characteristic of bipolar disease.
Lady Gaga Has Fibromyalgia
Just before the debut of her documentary Gaga: Five Foot Two, Lady Gaga tweeted about her fibromyalgia, a chronic ailment that was the primary cause of the pain she had been experiencing.
Fibromyalgia is a disorder characterized by widespread musculoskeletal pain, along with fatigue, sleep disturbances, memory impairments, and mood problems.
According to researchers, fibromyalgia changes the way your brain and spinal cord process painful and non-painful impulses, intensifying painful sensations.
Venus Williams Has Sjögren’s Syndrome
This tennis legend withdrew from play after winning her first round in the U.S. Open at age 31 in 2011 and announced she had Sjögren’s syndrome, an autoimmune disease that causes extensive dryness, fatigue, and chronic pain. Since then, she has become an activist for the disease, even carrying the Olympic Torch on World Sjögren’s Day in London. But after receiving the proper care and switching to a raw vegan diet, she was able to recover and resume her favorite activities.
Kim Kardashian West has Psoriasis
In 2011, the reality television star discovered that she had psoriasis. Her mother, Kris Jenner, also has the illness. She first only had patches on her legs, but in 2016 she revealed that she occasionally also experiences flare-ups on her face. Kardashian West changed her diet to avoid acidic foods, and she also uses a lotion to help control flare-ups.
Psoriasis is a disorder wherein the skin cells accumulate, resulting in scales and dry, itchy patches. The most typical symptom is a skin rash, though it can occasionally spread to the joints or nails.
Salman Khan has Trigeminal neuralgia
In 2001, Salman Khan was diagnosed with Trigeminal neuralgia.
Trigeminal neuralgia is a chronic neurological disorder that makes one side of the face experience pain that feels like an electric shock. The trigeminal nerve, which transmits sensations from face to brain, is affected by this disorder.
Trigeminal neuralgia patients may experience agonizing pain when even minor facial stimulation occurs, such as tooth brushing or applying makeup.
Gigi Hadid has Hashimoto’s disease
Gigi Hadid, a model, tweeted about her experience with Hashimoto's illness in 2018 in an effort to inform her followers.
An autoimmune condition called Hashimoto's disease can result in hypothyroidism or an underactive thyroid. In this disease, the immune system starts attacking the thyroid gland. Hyperthyroidism, or an overactive thyroid, is a rare side effect of the illness.
Elisabeth Hasselback has Celiac Disease
Hasselback, who is most known for serving as a co-host on The View, has had Celiac Disease for many years. After eating, she would experience a lot of discomfort, including gastrointestinal discomfort, cramps, and diarrhea. She was however put on a rigorous diet for "Survivor: The Australian Outback" in 2001. She discovered she had Celiac Disease after sticking to this diet. She no longer consumes gluten.
In celiac disease, the immune system reacts negatively to the protein gluten, which is found in wheat, barley, and rye.
The immunological response to ingesting gluten causes inflammation over time, which harms the lining of the small intestine and can result in health issues. In addition, it makes some nutrients more difficult to absorb (malabsorption).
Diarrhea is a typical symptom. Bloating, wind, exhaustion, low blood count (anemia), and osteoporosis are other symptoms. Many individuals have no symptoms.
A strict gluten-free diet can aid in symptom management and promote intestinal healing.