Ashton Kutcher, 44, has gone public about his recent battle with vasculitis, which impaired his sight, hearing and ability to walk. Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease whereby the blood vessels become inflamed. “Like two years ago, I had this weird, super-rare form of vasculitis,” Kutcher said in an exclusive video clip released to “Access Hollywood” from an upcoming episode of National Geographic’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge.”
“Knocked out my vision, knocked out my hearing, knocked out like all my equilibrium. It took me like a year to like build it all back up,” Kutcher told adventurer and presenter Bear Grylls as they hiked through brambles and trees.
The actor continued: “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone, until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever gonna be able to see again. I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to walk again.
“I’m lucky to be alive.”
According to the NHS, vasculitis can range from a minor problem that just affects the skin, to a more serious illness that causes problems with organs like the heart or kidneys.
There are many types of vasculitis and the type you have will determine the nature of your symptoms.
Although it’s known which type of vasculitis visited Kutcher, vision loss is associated with giant cell arteritis.
This is a type of vasculitis that often affects the arteries in the head and neck.
Other signs include:
- Aching and soreness around the temples
- Jaw muscle pain while eating
How is vasculitis treated?
There are two phases in the treatment of vasculitis – “remission induction” therapy (getting the disease under control) and “remission maintenance” therapy (keeping the disease under control).
Both phases normally involve immunosuppressive drugs.
According to Vasculitis UK, remission induction therapy usually requires a combination of immunosuppressive drugs to control the inflammation.
“The drugs given will vary according to the specific disease and the severity of the disease,” explains the health body.