Ashton Kutcher Sick: What Happened To Him?

Ashton Kutcher Sick: Ashton Kutcher, who suffered temporary deafness and blindness due to a rare autoimmune disease, has said he is “lucky to be alive” now that he has recovered. Kutcher discusses his battle with vasculitis in an upcoming episode of Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge on National Geographic.

Mr. Kutcher tells host Bear Grylls, “Like two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis, that like knocked out my vision, it knocked out my hearing, and it knocked out like all my equilibrium.” The star of That 70’s Show said on Twitter that he had “fully recovered” from the disease, but he went into more detail in Running Wild about the effects of his illness.

He said the only way to know its value is when it’s gone. You haven’t lived until you say, “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 basics of vasculitis are outlined below.

What Is Vasculitis?

Inflammation of blood vessels (such as arteries and veins) is collected under the umbrella term “vasculitis,” which describes a group of rare diseases with this symptom.

Signs and symptoms may include:

  • Fever
  • Headache
  • Fatigue
  • Weight loss
  • General aches and pains
  • Skin rash

Depending on which form of vasculitis you develop, you may experience various symptoms. In the early stages of the pandemic, for instance, Kawasaki disease was thought to be associated with COVID-19 infection.

According to the Mayo Clinic, a group of rare diseases known as vasculitis cause inflammation of the blood vessels. Damage to organs and tissues, or even an aneurysm, can result when inflammation restricts blood flow. A ruptured aneurysm can lead to life-threatening internal bleeding.

Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher

Fever, headaches, fatigue, weight loss, and aches and pains are all common symptoms of vasculitis. Blindness, hearing loss, ulcers, dizziness, bleeding ulcers, under-the-skin bleeding, and shortness of breath are all severe symptoms that can occur if the disease progresses.

“The exact cause of vasculitis is not fully understood,” the Mayo Clinic states. The underlying genetics of some types play a role. For other people, the immune system mistakenly attacks their blood vessel cells. Although anyone is at risk for developing vasculitis, some factors increase that risk, including advancing age, having a family history of the disease, using certain drugs, or having experienced specific health issues in the past.

According to research published in Nature, elderly people of Northern European ancestry are disproportionately affected by the vasculitis known as giant cell arteritis (GCA). Approximately 235 of every 100,000 Ontarians were diagnosed with GCA in 2018, up from 125 out of every 100,000 in 2000.

This study found that children of Southeast Asian ancestry are disproportionately affected by Kawasaki disease, the most common form of vasculitis in children aged five and under. About 20 out of every 100,000 Canadian children will get Kawasaki disease each year. What kind of vasculitis Kutcher has not been made clear.

What Causes Vasculitis?

We still don’t know what causes vasculitis. Some forms are inherited, while others develop when the immune system mistakenly attacks blood vessel cells. The Mayo Clinic reports that vasculitis can be caused by a wide variety of factors, including infections like hepatitis B and C, blood cancers, diseases of the immune system, and even drug reactions.

Factors that increase vulnerability include getting older, having a history of addiction, using drugs like cocaine or tobacco, or taking certain medications, or having an autoimmune disorder.

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Can Vasculitis Be Cured?

Unfortunately, vasculitis is currently incurable. To treat a disease effectively in the modern era, doctors must first identify its underlying cause and then mitigate any inflammation that may be present. The inflammation caused by vasculitis is typically treated with a steroid drug like prednisone.

Many forms of vasculitis respond well to treatment and can be kept in long-term remission with diligent upkeep. The School of Clinical Sciences at Monash Health estimates that 85% of people with vasculitis will die within five years without treatment. The prognosis for a patient with a disease is generally not good, but it improves if the illness is caught early.

How Many People In Australia Have Vasculitis?

According to Monash Health, the disease affects roughly 1 in every 50,000 Australians, with those aged 65 to 74 disproportionately affected. This is on par with the incidence rate for multiple sclerosis.

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