Chronic diseases are long-term health conditions that require ongoing treatment and management, often lasting for years or even a lifetime. From arthritis to diabetes, these conditions are well known, but some lesser-known conditions have gained more attention in recent years due to celebrities opening up about their struggles.
Breaking the Stigma: The Power of Celebrity Advocacy
While each individual decides what they want to share about their health, there's no denying that being open about a chronic condition can raise awareness, reduce stigma, and support fans who may also be struggling with the same condition.
From Lyme disease to lupus, here are some celebrities who have spoken publicly about their chronic health conditions. Cara Delevingne and Kim Kardashian: Psoriasis Model and actress Cara Delevingne helped raise awareness about psoriasis when she walked the red carpet at the 2022 Met Gala.
Psoriasis, a condition that causes red patches with silvery scales on the skin, received even more attention when it was discovered that one of the world's most photographed women, Kim Kardashian, also has it. "I freaked out when I first got it, but now I don't try to hide it anymore," said Kardashian.
Lady Gaga: Fibromyalgia Lady Gaga first shared her experience with fibromyalgia in her 2017 Netflix documentary, “Gaga: Five Foot Two”. Fibromyalgia is a condition that causes pain all over the body and can also cause extreme fatigue, muscle stiffness, trouble concentrating, and trouble sleeping.
The NHS (National Health Service) reports that it affects seven times more women than men, and while there is no cure, symptoms can be alleviated with medication, therapy, and lifestyle changes. Gigi Hadid: Hashimoto's Disease Gigi Hadid has spoken publicly about her struggle with Hashimoto's disease, also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis.
This autoimmune disease causes the immune system to attack the thyroid gland, resulting in a systemic disorder of hypothyroidism and reduced production of thyroid hormones. Symptoms can include difficulty concentrating, hair loss, fatigue, and weight gain.
Sia: Graves' Disease Sia, known for keeping much of her life private, has confirmed that she suffers from Graves' thyroid disease. This autoimmune disorder causes an overactive thyroid due to the immune system attacking the thyroid and making it produce more hormones than the body needs.
Symptoms can include hand tremors, rapid and irregular heartbeat, irritability or nervousness, fatigue, and muscle weakness.
Sarah Hyland: Renal Dysplasia "Modern Family" star Sarah Hyland was born with renal dysplasia, a condition in which the kidneys did not develop properly while the baby was in the womb. Hyland received a kidney transplant from her father in 2012, and in 2017, she spoke out against those who criticized her weight loss on social media, attributing it to her health issues.
i'm not crazy! i have graves disease! the shakes,the nerves. THE CRAZY!!
goodbye thyroid. i will kill you with radioactivity.
— sia (@Sia) June 17, 2010
Venus Williams: Sjogren's Syndrome Tennis superstar Venus Williams revealed that she struggles with Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune condition that affects parts of the body that produce fluids such as tears and saliva.
Symptoms include dry eyes, dry mouth, fatigue, and joint pain. Despite being forced to withdraw from the US Open in 2011, Williams has since been a runner-up at Wimbledon. Bella Hadid: Lyme Disease Lyme disease, caused by a tick bite, can cause long-term symptoms such as joint pain, problems affecting the nervous system, extreme fatigue, and heart problems.
Bella Hadid contracted the disease in 2015, and her mother Yolanda, who also has the disease, revealed it. Bella later told Porter magazine that she once became so ill she couldn't get out of bed for six days. Selena Gomez: Lupus In 2015, Selena Gomez revealed that she had been diagnosed with lupus, an autoimmune condition that causes rashes, fatigue, and joint pain.
She underwent chemotherapy for the disease and received a kidney transplant from her friend Francie Raise in 2017. Halle Berry: Diabetes Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry has type 1 diabetes, a chronic disease in which the body can't produce enough of the hormone insulin, which controls blood glucose.
After being diagnosed in her early 20s, Berry has been dealing with the disease ever since and regularly injects herself with insulin. During the COVID-19 pandemic, Berry's condition made her more vulnerable, but she remained strict about quarantine and who was in her bubble.
Lil Wayne: Epilepsy Rapper Lil Wayne suffers from epilepsy, a condition that affects the brain and is mostly known for causing seizures. These celebrities have not only shed light on the difficulties of living with a chronic condition but also inspired others to seek help and treatment.
By being open about their struggles, they have broken down barriers and helped reduce the stigma associated with chronic health conditions.