Ashton Kutcher discusses autoimmune disorder that left him blind and deaf

Actor opens up during filming episode of ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls’

“That ‘70s Show” actor Ashton Kutcher recently opened up about a medical disorder that caused him to lose the ability to walk, see and hear.

While filming an episode for National Geographic’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge,” Kutcher opened up about his bout with vasculitis, a rare autoimmune disorder he developed.

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“Like, two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis, that knocked out my vision, it knocked out my hearing, it knocked out, like, all my equilibrium,” he revealed to Grylls.

Kutcher said it took about a year for him to recover and rebuild. Arthritis.org describes vasculitis as an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of arteries, veins and capillaries.

Symptoms

Some symptoms of vasculitis include fever, headache, fatigue, weight loss, and general aches and pains. On a more serious note, vasculitis can cause the following :

  • Pain after eating that may result in ulcers and perforations
  • Ringing in the ears and abrupt hearing loss along with dizziness
  • Itchy, brining or red eyes that can cause double vision and temporary to permanent blindness
  • Numbness, weakness, swelling or hardening in the feet and hands
  • Shortness of breath and coughing up blood
  • Bleeding, red spots, lumps or sores on the skin

Causes

While medical professionals can’t pinpoint what can cause vasculitis, the Mayo Clinic said it can be related to a person’s genetic makeup. However, the following could also be triggers:

  • Infections, such as hepatitis B and hepatitis C
  • Blood cancers
  • Immune system diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus and scleroderma
  • Reactions to certain drugs

Who’s at risk

Anyone can be at risk for vasculitis, the following might increase chances of someone getting it:

  • Giant cell arteritis rarely occurs before the age of 50, while Kawasaki disease is most common in children younger than 5. It is more common in women.
  • Family history of: Behçet’s disease, granulomatosis with polyangiitis and Kawasaki disease.
  • Using cocaine and smoking tobacco can increase your risk of developing vasculitis, especially if you’re a man younger than 45.
  • Vasculitis can sometimes be triggered by medications such as hydralazine, allopurinol, minocycline and propylthiouracil.
  • People who have disorders that attack their own bodies, such as: lupus, rheumatoid arthritis and scleroderma.
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While vasculitis is a rare autoimmune disorder, the complications — such as organ failure, blood clots, aneurysms and more — are serious. It’s important to seek medical attention if you’re experiencing any symptoms.

“You don’t really appreciate it, until it’s gone,” Kutcher said. “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.’”

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