"I’m lucky to be alive": What is vasculitis, the disease that left actor Ashton Kutcher nearly blind and deaf

"I’m lucky to be alive": What is vasculitis, the disease that left actor Ashton Kutcher nearly blind and deaf

  • Julia Granchi
  • BBC News Brazil

2 hours

Ashton Kutcher

Credit: Noam Galai/Getty Images


Ashton Kutcher said he had a severe episode of this autoimmune disease.

Actor Ashton Kutcher, 44, revealed he couldn’t see, hear or walk due to vasculitis, an autoimmune disease.

He spoke about his experience with the disease on the National Geographic show Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge, which features Bear Grylls.

Kutcher said he was diagnosed with a type of autoimmune vasculitis, without specifying which ones.

“Three years ago I had a weird and super rare form of vasculitis that He destroyed my sight, my hearing and my balance“, said.

“For real you don’t appreciate her (the senses) until you lose heruntil you think, “I don’t know if I can see again, hear again, walk again. I’m lucky to be alive,'” the show’s actor said.

On his Twitter account, he clarified that he had this “autoimmune outbreak” three years ago: “I have fully recovered. It’s all ok. Go on. See you at the 2022 New York Marathon.”

“vasculitis” means Inflammation of the blood vessel wall. And it can lead to narrowing or even occlusion of blood vessels, resulting in lack of irrigation in various organs,” Bruna Chu, a rheumatologist and professor of medicine at Positivo University in Curitiba (Brazil), explained to BBC Brazil. . ).

There are more than 20 types of vasculitis. The actor did not specify which variant suffered All he said was that it was a rare version of the disorder and that he was experiencing severe symptoms.

Some forms of vasculitis, as explained by rheumatologist Henrique Dalmolin of Moriah Hospital (São Paolo, Brazil), are mild and cause easily treatable symptoms such as skin lesions.

“There are others that usually have more serious consequences, affecting the central nervous system, lungs, kidneys, eyes and hearing system. The more changes you have, the more serious the clinical picture.”

According to the doctor, in vasculitis, Loss of motion is usually associated with a variation that makes an impacta to the central or peripheral nervous systemwhere are the nerves that make the transmission to the extremities”.

Copyright Elizabeth Fernandez/Getty Images


The eyes can be affected by this disease.

The different forms of vasculitis and their symptoms

The different forms of vasculitis are distinguished by the Size and location of affected blood vessels.

“The vasculitides primaries are those in which the blood vessels are the main target of the disease. In addition, the classification is based on how the affected vessels are: large, medium, small or variable,” says Chu.

for this guy There are no known causes.

There is also vasculitis collegesthose in which there is something previous health status who is responsible for this medical image.

“It could be another autoimmune disease, from a secondary infection, mainly virallike hepatitis and even Covid-19, as a result of medication and even exposure to levamisole, a component of cocaine,” lists Dalmolin.

The most common symptoms are skin lesions (such as purpura, hives and rash), Fatigue, weakness, fever, joint pain, blurred vision (such as pain and redness of the eyes), headache, nasal congestion and nosebleeds, shortness of breath, abdominal pain, kidney problems (dark urine), and weight loss nerve problems (such as numbness, weakness and pain).

How is vasculitis diagnosed?

The various forms of vasculitis are diagnosed by blood tests and laboratory imaging tests.

“The diagnosis It is not easy. It depends on the evaluation of the symptoms, the additional tests and often other diseases with similar manifestations have to be ruled out,” explains Chu.

can also be done Kidney, liver, blood count tests (with antibody tests) and tomography and magnetic resonance imaging according to the symptoms each patient presents.

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Immunosuppressants are the main treatment for vasculitis.

How is the treatment

Vasculitis is in most cases, and when there is no other secondary condition behind its occurrence, a chronic autoimmune diseasei.e. caused by the patient’s own organism.

The main treatment for all subtypes of vasculitis is the use of immunosuppressive drugs These include corticosteroids, immunobiologics, or traditional immunosuppressants, which help control the activity of antibodies that attack blood vessels, depending on the case.

In Kutcher’s case, the actor said it took about a year to recover, likely due to the severity of the symptoms.

Those diagnosed with vasculitis will need a follow-up care for the rest of his life.

“That Response to treatment is better when diagnosis is made earlybefore the disease causes narrowing or occlusion of the blood vessels,” says Bruna Chu.

“In some cases, the most serious and resistant therapy is mentioned plasmapheresis, the circulating antibody is removed from the patient’s blood. But it doesn’t offer a cure, it only helps for a certain time,” explains rheumatologist Henrique Dalmolin.

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