Doctor to Jennifer Esposito: ‘I don’t know how you’re alive’

Actress Jennifer Esposito has been diagnosed with the worst celiac disease her doctor says she has ever seen

“NCIS” star Jennifer Esposito suffers from celiac disease, “the worst case” of it her doctor said she had ever seen. Now the actress is talking about her diagnosis.

Speaking on the MeSsy podcast, hosted by Christina Applegate and Jamie-Lynn Sigler, Esposito said she “begged” multiple doctors for a solution to her debilitating symptoms: fatigue, hair loss, difficulty walking, vomiting, sinus infections and more. It wasn’t until she visited a doctor recommended by her ear, nose and throat specialist that she received answers.

“I sat there and I was broken because it’d be the nth time.” she said, as reported by People. “I went to this woman. I told her everything. She said to me, ‘I’m gonna test you for everything. I’m gonna get this, give me a few days.’

Her diagnoses was just days away.

“She called me two days later and she said, ‘You have the worst case of celiac disease I think I’ve ever seen. I don’t know how you’re alive,’” Esposito said.

The 51-year-old added she is doing much better these days, now that she has some answers.

“I healed my gut,” she said. “I don’t have pain when I wake up. I don’t feel like I’m passing out. My stomach doesn’t hurt. I don’t have panic attacks today.”

Celiac is a chronic digestive and immune disorder. According to the Celiac Disease Foundation, it affects an estimated 1% of the world population — though less than a third of cases are properly diagnosed.

It’s hereditary and comes with significant symptoms.

“When people with celiac disease eat gluten (a protein found in wheat, rye, and barley), their body mounts an immune response that attacks the small intestine,” according to the foundation.

“These attacks lead to damage on the villi, small fingerlike projections that line the small intestine, that promote nutrient absorption. When the villi get damaged, nutrients cannot be absorbed properly into the body.”

Those suffering from the disease have twice the risk of developing coronary artery disease and four times the risk of developing small bowel cancer. The only treatment is a strict, gluten-free diet void of wheat, rye and barley.