Ashton Kutcher revealed he experienced a rare autoimmune flare-up three years ago that temporarily “knocked out” his ability to see, hear, and walk.
The episode was the result of a rare form of vasculitis, or narrowing and inflammation of blood vessels.
“You don’t really appreciate it, until it’s gone,” Kutcher said of his senses.
In a new episode of National Geographic’s Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge, Grylls is joined in the woods by Ashton Kutcher, who gets vulnerable about one of his life’s scariest moments. In an exclusive clip obtained by Access Hollywood, the actor reveals he experienced a rare vasculitis flare-up that temporarily stole his ability to see, hear, and walk.
“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,” the 44-year-old explained.
According to the Arthritis Foundation, vasculitis is an autoimmune disease that causes inflammation and narrowing of the blood vessels, which carry vital blood to and from the heart and organs. The narrowing happens because the immune system mistakenly identifies the blood vessels as foreign invaders and attacks them, which, in some cases, cuts off essential blood supply and can cause organ damage or death.
In this exclusive look at an upcoming episode of @natgeotv’s #RunningWild with @BearGrylls: The Challenge, #AshtonKutcher opens up about a rare medical disorder that left him without the ability to hear, see or walk. pic.twitter.com/diG6xR1WPp
— Access Hollywood (@accesshollywood) August 8, 2022
There are various types of vasculitis, per the foundation, including large vessel, medium vessel, and small vessel, but Kutcher didn’t reveal the type he lives with. It’s typical for symptoms to only ever occur once, or several times over several years. Other symptoms include fever, fatigue, weight loss, and general aches and pains.
Thankfully, in the year following his episode, Kutcher was able to build his senses back up again. But he continues to glean wisdom from the experience. “You don’t really appreciate it, until it’s gone,” he told Grylls. “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.’” He added that he’s “lucky to be alive,” now with more perspective than ever.
“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?” he mused. “You start surfing on top of your problems instead of living underneath them.”
And that’s exactly what he’s doing. The No Strings Attached star is still charging ahead, and even took to Twitter to speak out on the episode after the Running Wild sneak peek aired. “Before there are a bunch of rumors/ chatter/ whatever out there. Yes, I had a rare vasculitis episode 3yrs ago,” he wrote. “I had some impairments hear, vision, balance issues right after. I fully recovered. All good.”
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