What is vasculitis? What is Ashton Kutcher’s rare illness?

Ashton Kutcher illness: Ashton Kutcher’s rare autoimmune illness, vasculitis, is a potentially fatal disorder characterized by inflammation of the blood vessels. According to experts, it is notoriously difficult to diagnose. Due to the fact that its initial symptoms, which include exhaustion, fevers, and weight loss, are similar to so many other conditions, clinicians do not immediately detect a rare disease.

“Of all the things that I think rheumatologists have to deal with, vasculitis can be both the toughest to deal with and sometimes be the most difficult to make a diagnosis in,” said Dr. David Goddard, a rheumatologist and clinical professor of medicine at the New York University Grossman School of Medicine. Kutcher said what was wrong with him on an episode of “Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge” that aired on National Geographic on Monday night.

“Two years ago, I got a weird, extremely rare form of vasculitis that, like, made me blind. It stopped me from hearing. It really threw me off balance,” Kutcher told Grylls. It took him about a year to recover, he said, adding that he felt “lucky to be alive.”

There are various types of vasculitis nearly 20, according to the Vasculitis Foundation, a nonprofit organization. Different forms are identified based on the size of the blood vessel they affect, from the capillaries to the aorta, the main artery that carries blood from the heart to the rest of the body. Kutcher didn’t respond to an inquiry about which type of vasculitis he had.

The symptoms of vasculitis vary based on the part of the body it affects. Because vasculitis can attack any blood vessel, every patient’s case will look different, said Dr. Anisha Dua, an associate professor of medicine in rheumatology at the Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine.

Ashton Kutcher illness

“There are some that are more likely to attack your kidneys, lungs, or the structures in your ear,” said Dua, who is also the director of the Vasculitis Center at Northwestern University. “Any organ that gets blood from that blood vessel can be hurt, and blood vessels are, of course, everywhere in your body.” Vasculitis and its flare-ups aren’t easy to figure out. Dua said that sometimes a health problem or something stressful “kind of sets off this whole chain of events.”

Among the life-threatening risks, vasculitis poses are renal failure, aneurysms and strokes, and bleeding into the lungs. Statistics on the condition’s mortality rates are scarce, but rheumatologists said survival rates have increased thanks to advances in diagnostic capabilities and treatment options.

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