What Is Vasculitis? The Autoimmune Disease Ashton Kutcher Suffers From

The actor wasn't able to see, hear or speak.

Ashton Kutcher has just spoken about a recent health scare, claiming that he is ‘lucky to be alive’ after he was diagnosed with a rare form of vasculitis almost two years ago. 

The autoimmune disorder left the actor without the ability to see, hear or walk, and took about a full year to recover from. 

In a sneak peek of a new episode of Running Wild With Bear Grylls: The Challenge, Kutcher talks about his terrifying experience for the first time. 

“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. “It took me like a year to build it all back up. You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone.”

Grylls praised Kutcher for being “strong and resilient,” and, despite the major health scare, Kutcher said it was an opportunity for him to reframe hardship as a chance to persevere. 

“The minute you start seeing your obstacles as things that are made for you, to give you what you need, then life starts to get fun, right?” Kutcher explained. “You start surfing on top of your problems instead of living underneath them.”

What is vasculitis? 

Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of blood vessels, which restricts blood flow and can cause damage to the organs and tissue. There are several types, and it’s not clear which one exactly Kutcher suffered from, but there are a set of general symptoms.  

According to the Mayo Clinic, symptoms may include weakness in the hands and feet, abrupt hearing loss or temporary blindness in one or both eyes, fatigue, loss of appetite/weight and rashes. 

The disease is “relatively rare” and can affect people of all ages, according to the Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy. Things like smoking, using narcotics and some medications can make a person more likely to develop the disorder. 

As for how it’s treated, it depends on the severity of the case, but medicine can both reduce symptoms and help avoid flare ups and further complications. According to the NIH, if vasculitis responds to treatment, it can go into remission, a period of time when the disease is not active. 

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