Ashton Kutcher says he's ‘lucky to be alive’ after developing rare autoimmune disorder

These are the symptoms to watch for.

August 8, 2022, 7:55 PM

Ashton Kutcher says he's "lucky to be alive" after he says he developed vasculitis, a rare condition..

In a first look from Monday night's new episode of National Geographic's "Running Wild with Bear Grylls: The Challenge" from Access Hollywood, the "Punk'd" creator opened up to the British adventurer about developing a rare disorder, while the two walked through the jungles of Costa Rica.

PHOTO: In this Jan. 9, 2019 file photo Ashton Kutcher at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
In this Jan. 9, 2019 file photo Ashton Kutcher at Microsoft Theater in Los Angeles.
Michael Kovac/Getty Images, FILE

"Two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis," Kutcher said. "It knocked out my vision, it knocked out my hearing -- it knocked out all my equilibrium. It took me, like, a year to build it all back up."

While Kutcher did not mention what specific disorder he had, vasculitis is generally defined as swelling that affects the walls of your blood vessels, according to the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute. Also known as angiitis or arteritis, some cases of vasculitis may be caused by autoimmune disorders that occur "when your immune hurts your blood vessels by mistake," according to the institute.

The National Institutes of Health said it's unknown what happens, but when it does, the blood vessels swell and can close off. Symptoms can vary depending on what kind of vasculitis a person has, but general symptoms include tiredness, fever, aches and pains, loss of appetite and weight loss, according to the NIH.

Vasculitis can also cause ear and nose problems, eye problems, genital ulcers, heart palpitations, joint pain, lung problems, nerve issues, skin rashes or swollen, dry lips or tongue, according to the NIH. Treatment can include prescription medicines or over-the-counter pain medication to relieve symptoms and reduce inflammation, the agency said.

"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 ever gonna be able to hear again. I don't know if I'm ever gonna be able to walk again,'" Kutcher told Grylls in the clip.

He added, "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? You start surfing on top of your problems instead of living underneath them."

The new episode of "Running Wild with Bear Grylls," premieres Monday night at 9 p.m. ET on National Geographic. In clips teasing the new episode on social media, Kutcher is seen pushing himself to the limit as Grylls takes him through the Costa Rican jungle and crossing a ravine. Clips also show Grylls pranking Kutcher about crocodiles in a river as they look for fish to eat.

You can watch Kutcher's adventure on Disney+ starting Aug. 10.

Kutcher tweeted Monday night confirming that he experienced a rare form of vasculitis.

"Before there are a bunch of rumors/chatter/whatever out there. Yes, I had a rare vasculitis episode 3 yrs ago," he said. "(Autoimmune flare up) I had some impairments hear, vision, balance issues right after."

He added that he's putting it behind him and looking forward to what's next.

"I fully recovered," Kutcher said. "All good. Moving on. See you at the 2022 NY Marathon w/Thorn."

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