Ashton Kutcher shares the symptoms of his debilitating health battle – ‘lucky to be alive’

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Ashton Kutcher, 44, has gone public about his recent battle with vasculitis, which impaired his sight, hearing and ability to walk. Vasculitis is an autoimmune disease whereby the blood vessels become inflamed. “Like two years ago, I had this weird, super-rare form of vasculitis,” Kutcher said in an exclusive video clip released to “Access Hollywood” from an upcoming episode of National Geographic’s “Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge.”

“Knocked out my vision, knocked out my hearing, knocked out like all my equilibrium. It took me like a year to like build it all back up,” Kutcher told adventurer and presenter Bear Grylls as they hiked through brambles and trees.

The actor continued: “You don’t really appreciate it until it’s gone, until you go, ‘I don’t know if I’m ever gonna be able to see again. I don’t know if I’m gonna be able to hear again, I don’t know if I’m going to be able to walk again.

“I’m lucky to be alive.”

According to the NHS, vasculitis can range from a minor problem that just affects the skin, to a more serious illness that causes problems with organs like the heart or kidneys.

There are many types of vasculitis and the type you have will determine the nature of your symptoms.

Although it’s known which type of vasculitis visited Kutcher, vision loss is associated with giant cell arteritis.

This is a type of vasculitis that often affects the arteries in the head and neck.

Other signs include:

  • Aching and soreness around the temples
  • Jaw muscle pain while eating
  • Headaches.

What causes vasculitis?

The exact cause of vasculitis isn’t fully understood. “Some types are related to a person’s genetic makeup,” explains the Mayo Clinic.

The health body continues: “Others result from the immune system attacking blood vessel cells by mistake.”

Possible triggers for this immune system reaction include:

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

Vasculitis can happen to anyone but there are risk factors that may contribute to its development.

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