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Actor Ashton Kutcher recently disclosed his bout with an autoimmune condition that affected his hearing, vision and ability to walk.
Access Hollywood obtained footage of an interview from Monday night’s episode of National Geographic’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge,” in which the actor spoke about a rare autoimmune disorder he developed not long ago called vasculitis.
The 44-year-old actor said in the interview, “Two years ago, I had this weird, super-rare form of vasculitis, that, like, knocked out my vision, it knocked out my hearing, it knocked out, like, all my equilibrium,” according to the Access Hollywood report.
ASHTON KUTCHER REVEALS VASCULITIS DIAGNOSIS, SAYS HE COULDN’T WALK, TALK OR HEAR
Kutcher also said in the interview, “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone. Until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to see again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m ever going to be able to walk again.’”
The Vasculitis Foundation says that “vasculitis is a general term that refers to inflammation of the blood vessels.”
It notes as well, “It is used to describe a family of nearly 20 rare diseases, characterized by narrowing, weakening or scarring of the blood vessels, which can restrict blood flow and damage vital organs and tissues.”
The disease can affect blood vessels such as arteries, capillaries and veins.
The Center for Vasculitis Care and Research at Cleveland Clinic said on its website that vasculitis is an autoimmune disease — in which the body mistakenly attacks its own healthy tissue — that contributes to inflammation of blood vessels.
Currently, researchers believe this inflammatory response may be triggered by infections, medications, environmental or genetic factors, allergic reactions or another disease process.
The disease can affect blood vessels such as arteries, capillaries and veins — and symptoms can range from mild to severe, and vary from person to person, the Cleveland Clinic experts said.
Symptoms also depend on the tissues and organs that are affected.
The actor said it took about a year for his senses to recover, according to the media report.
Rheumatologists said while some forms of vasculitis may improve on their own, others may require medical care throughout one’s life.
Treatment of the disease depends on the specific type of vasculitis and the areas/organs that are involved, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Treatment may include the use of corticosteroids — or, in some cases, medications that suppress the immune system.
Regardless of the severity, health experts said that early diagnosis and treatment are extremely important to avoid potentially life-threatening complications.
The actor said it took about a year for his senses to recover, according to the media report. “I’m lucky to be alive,” Kutcher said in the interview.
Scans of blood vessels and the heart, as well as tissue biopsies, may also be performed.
Common symptoms of the disease include the following list, according to the Ceveland Clinic.
Kidney problems (including dark or bloody urine)
Nerve problems (including numbness, weakness and pain)
Cough and/or shortness of breath
Also, other symptoms can occur, depending on the area of the body affected by vasculitis.
The Cleveland experts noted that if a small blood vessel is affected, it might break, producing small areas of bleeding in the tissue that appear as small red or purple dots on the skin.
They also noted a nodule or lump might be noticeable in the skin when a larger blood vessel close to the skin surface is inflamed.
A physician can diagnose vasculitis based on symptoms, a person’s medical history, physical examination and laboratory tests. Scans of blood vessels and the heart, as well as tissue biopsies, may also be performed, according to the Cleveland Clinic.
Kutcher, who shares two children with his wife Mila Kunis — whom he met when they filmed their hit TV series, “That ’70s Show” — spoke about overcoming challenges.
“The minute you start seeing your obstacles as things that are made for you, to give you what you need, and then life starts to get fun, right?” Kutcher said in the Bear Grylls interview, according to Access Hollywood.
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He added, “You start surfing on top of your problems instead of living underneath them.”