Celebrities like Selena Gomez, Lady Gaga and Sarah Hyland are being more open than ever about their chronic conditions. Not only do they give the conditions a familiar face for those unfamiliar with them, but their honesty means even more to those who are familiar with the diseases and who struggle with them on a daily basis.
By sharing their stories, celebs are using their unique platforms to raise awareness (and more importantly, research and funding) for conditions like lupus, fibromayalgia and Lyme disease.
Last week, when Gomez shared that her actress BFF donated one of her kidneys to her, she shared a link to educate people about lupus and promised to speak up more about the disease.
Dancing With the Stars judge Julianne Hough has been open about her journey with endometriosis and is using her platform as a way to campaign and help other women suffering from the tough-to-diagnose disorder.
Continue ahead to learn how other celebrities suffering from chronic conditions are helping to educate and raise awareness about their diseases.
By this point, it's hard to scroll through social media without seeing mention of Selena Gomez's kidney transplant as part of her lupus recovery this summer. But she's been open about her battle with the disease (an autoimmune condition which causes rashes, fatigue and joint pain) since 2015.
She even underwent chemotherapy for the condition, which can attack the immune system and organs like the kidneys. She told Billboard that during her break from music while she was taking care of herself and undergoing treatment, people assumed she was in rehab for addiction.
"That's what my break was really about. I could've had a stroke," she said. "I wanted so badly to say, 'You guys have no idea. I'm in chemotherapy. You're a--holes.'"
Bella Hadid: Lyme disease
Contrary to popular belief, Lyme disease is not exclusively contracted through a tick's bite.
When not detected early, Lyme disease can cause long-lasting symptoms like pain in the joints, problems affecting the nervous system, extreme fatigue and heart problems.
The 20-year-old model's mother, Yolanda, and brother, Anwar, also suffer from the disease. It's not genetic, but because they all likely shared an environment, it could have been transported through similar manners.
"It affected my memory, so I suddenly wouldn’t remember how to drive to Santa Monica from Malibu, where I lived,” Hadid told ES Magazine. “I couldn’t ride [horses]. I was just too sick. And I had to sell my horse because I couldn’t take care of it.”
When Kim Kardashian opened up about her psoriasis diagnosis on a 2011 episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians, she was initially pretty freaked out about it. Since then, she says she's learned to live with the condition, which causes itchy and sometimes crusty red patches with silver flakes on the skin.
“Everyone with psoriasis has different symptoms; sometimes the rashes are itchy, sometimes they're flaky. Mine flares up from time to time for different reasons,” she wrote on her website. “I'm always hoping for a cure, of course, but in the meantime, I'm learning to just accept it as part of who I am.”
Julianne Hough: Endometriosis
Julianne Hough was one of the first celebrities to come forward and speak up about an endometriosis diagnosis.
Since she revealed her diagnosis in 2008, she hasn't shied away from talking about the debilitating, painful disorder in which tissue that normally lines the inside of the uterus grows outside the uterus.
"For the longest time, I thought: This is the way my period is," she told Glamour. "I didn't want to complain, so I'd just deal with it and ignore it."
She's since learned to live with the incurable disease and has started a campaign to help other women manage their symptoms.
The Jonas brother, 25, was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes when he was just 13 years old. He described the diagnosis as "one of the most frightening moments of my life."
Also known as juvenile diabetes or insulin-dependent diabetes, type 1 diabetes is a chronic condition where the pancreas cannot produce enough insulin, a hormone needed to allow sugar to enter cells to produce energy.
Despite massive amounts of research, type 1 diabetes does not have a cure. Jonas wears an insulin pump and has started a charity, Beyond Type 1, to educate about the chronic life-threatening disease and provide resources and support for those with type 1 diabetes.
Sarah Hyland: Kidney dysplasia
Hyland has been open about her journey with kidney dysplasia, especially when it comes to slamming body shamers for commenting on her weight and appearance — even going so far as to call her anorexic.
Despite "working hard to maintain my weight by eating as much protein as possible and continue to be strong and healthy," Hyland wrote that her condition makes it difficult for her to lead a normal life.
"I have been told I can't work out. Which, for me, is very upsetting. I am an activist for activity (and for eating junk food in bed but it's all about balance right?). I love to be outdoors. I love to be strong. (I'll be using that word a lot). Strength is everything. Being strong has gotten me where I am. Both mentally and physically," she wrote on Twitter earlier this year.
Kidney dysplasia is a condition from birth where the kidneys have not developed properly when the baby was in the womb; Hyland received a kidney transplant from her father when she was just 13 years old.
"I was born with so many health issues that doctors told my mother I would never have a normal life. And she said, 'You're right, she won't – but it won't be because of her health,'" Hyland told Seventeen.
A chronic disease with symptoms like widespread musculoskeletal pain, fatigue, and issues with sleep, memory and mood, researchers also believe that fibromyalgia amplifies painful sensations by affecting the way the brain processes pain signals.
There is no cure for fibromyalgia, but one person spreading awareness about the disease? Lady Gaga. In September, Gaga was forced to cancel a show in Brazil after being hospitalized with severe pain. Later, she announced that she was canceling the European leg of her tour to work with her doctors. She updated her fans on her health, writing that she plans on sharing her journey in an effort to help others.
"As I get stronger and when I feel ready, I will tell my story in more depth, and plan to take this on strongly so I can not only raise awareness, but expand research for others who suffer as I do, so I can help make a difference," she wrote on Instagram.
Gigi Hadid: Hashimoto's disease
Also known as chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, model (and older sister of Bella Hadid) suffers from this thyroid disease that can cause difficulty concentrating, hair loss, fatigue and weight gain.
"My metabolism actually changed like crazy this year," she told Elle. "I have Hashimoto's disease. It's a thyroid disease, and it's now been two years since taking the medication for it, so for the [Victoria's Secret Fashion Show] I didn't want to lose any more weight."
Rapper Lil Wayne's battle with epilepsy has been brought to the spotlight this summer, although the 34-year-old has long been suffering from the seizure-inducing disorder.
Most recently, in September the rapper was hospitalized after suffering multiple seizures and being forced to cancel a Las Vegas show.
Back in 2013, fans first learned of his condition when the news of one of his hospitalizations first hit. He later revealed to fans that he was dealing with epilepsy and was "prone to seizures."
"This wasn't my first, second, third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh....I have had a bunch of seizures, you just never hear about them," Wayne told Power 106 at the time. "My heart rate went down to 30 percent. I have people around me who know how to handle it. This time was real bad because I had three back to back and the third one was so bad."
Venus Williams: Sjogren's syndrome
The tennis pro may have made it to the U.S. Open finals this year, but when she revealed in 2011 that she suffers from Sjogren's syndrome, an autoimmune disorder characterized by dry eyes and a dry mouth, she was forced to drop out of that year's grand slam tournament.
"I realized I had to get working, so there were days at the beginning where I did feel like I wanted to stay in bed," Williams told CNN.
"But I don't because it makes me anxious, I have to get to work. My motto now is that it all adds up, so if I can only do a little bit this day, it will add up, and it's better than if I get discouraged and don't do anything."
With a new exercise regimen and all-vegan diet, Williams is learning how to be one of the world's best tennis players while managing her disease.
Photo Credit: Instagram / @selenagomez
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