The actor’s ability to see, hear, and walk were compromised.
Ashton Kutcher is sharing new details about a shocking health scare that nearly cost him his life.
The actor discusses the condition in a new episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, and a preview clip posted by Access Hollywood includes the frightening description of just how bad things got for him.
“Like 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,” he said.
Kutcher, 44, who’s a dad to two children with his wife and former That ’70s Show co-star Mila Kunis, told Grylls this scary scenario left him feeling “lucky to be alive.”
“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,’” Kutcher said.
Luckily for the former host of Punk’d, he was able to build up his faculties again after about a year of struggling. But if his story resonated with you, here’s what else you should know about his frightening condition.
What is vasculitis?
This autoimmune disorder is a family of almost 20 different diseases that involve inflamed blood vessels of any kind, including veins, arteries, and capillaries.
Though the specific cause of the illness is still unknown to researchers, it can be triggered by “infection, medication, genetic or environmental factors, allergic reactions, or another disease,” according to the Vasculitis Foundation, which adds that each of these 20 types are distinct from one another and may require specific treatments.
The disease generally affects all ages and races similarly, and typically men and women experience it at similar numbers.
What are the symptoms of vasculitis?
According to the Mayo Clinic, the most basic symptoms include headache, fatigue, fever, weight loss, and general aches and pains, but further complications can include problems with the digestive system (such as pain after eating), ears, eyes, hands, feet, lungs, and skin.
As Kutcher pointed out, patients can experience temporary (or permanent) blindness as well as numbness or weakness in the limbs that affects mobility.
They also may have lesions or lumps on the skin or blood in their urine. (The Vasculitis Foundation adds that some patients may experience kidney disease, and any who’s dealing with vasculitis should have regular tests of their urine to check on that.)
How is vasculitis diagnosed?
Because of the wide range of symptoms, many of which could also apply to other conditions, vasculitis can be challenging to diagnose. Doctors will generally examine the full scope of a patient’s medical history and start with a physical, and from there, analysis could include blood or urine tests, X-rays, MRIs, and/or a biopsy.
How is vasculitis treated?
“Treatment usually involves two phases: controlling the inflammation to achieve remission, and maintenance treatment to prevent relapse,” according to the Vasculitis Foundation.
Controlling inflammation typically begins with corticosteroids, and from there, doctors will further evaluate what type of medication each patient needs based on their specific form of vasculitis and how their immune system is responding. The most extreme cases may require plasma exchange or surgery to bring blood flow back to more normal levels.
Unfortunately, there’s currently no cure for the condition. But when it’s diagnosed early and treated carefully, patients can live full, happy lives while managing their vasculitis.
You can learn more about vasculitis right here, and if you suspect that you or someone you know may be suffering from it, this tool is a helpful way to find a doctor with experience diagnosing and treating it.
The information provided on this site isn’t intended as medical advice and shouldn’t replace professional medical treatment. Consult your doctor with any serious health concerns.
Want more great content?
Sign up here to jumpstart your mornings with Katie’s dynamic daily newsletter, Wake-Up Call.