While we associate celebrities with glamour and stardom, we fail to acknowledge the fact that some of them carry burdens and secrets that are often kept away from the silver screens and the dynamic world of fame, such as chronic health issues.
In this post, I will discuss celebrities living with a rare form of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN): Essential Thrombocythemia.
What Is Essential Thrombocythemia?
Essential Thrombocythemia (ET) is a rare blood disorder characterized by the overproduction of platelets in the bone marrow.
Platelets are the blood cells responsible for clotting, so an increase in their number can lead to excessive clotting and bleeding.
ET is considered a myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN) and often develops slowly over time, with a lack of early symptoms.
ET symptoms include, but are not limited to:
- Chest pain
- Numbness or tingling in the hands or feet
- Shortness of breath
- Vision changes
- Blood clots
Are There Celebrities With Essential Thrombocythemia?
As I mentioned earlier, ET is quite rare, since it is estimated that only 1-24 per every 1 million people have the disorder.
Celebrities are known to keep their battles to themselves, unless when trailed and exposed by paparazzi of course.
However, there is one celebrity in particular who did not shy away from making his condition known to the public: Susan Tyrrell.
Tyrrell was an American character actress who began her career in Broadway and Off-Broadway theatre productions in New York.
Aside from theatre, Tyrrell also made appearances in TV shows and films, with her first works being in Mr. Novak (1964) and Shoot Out (1971) respectively.
Her last appearance was in Kid-Thing, a 2012 American drama film.
Tyrrell was diagnosed with essential thrombocythemia back in 2000, and in that same year, both her legs were amputated just below the knees. The complications resulted from blood clotting.
The cause of her death is not known, but she likely suffered a heart attack, which is likely for ET patients.
Essential Thrombocythemia (ET) Vs Idiopathic Thrombocytopenic Purpura (ITP)
People often confuse essential thrombocythemia and idiopathic thrombocytopenic purpura, mainly because they are both types of myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN).
What are the main differences between ET and ITP?
ITP is also a blood disorder that affects platelets, but in this case, the body destroys them instead of producing too many.
The cause of ITP is unknown, but it is believed to be an autoimmune disorder that happens when the immune system mistakenly attacks platelets.
Research indicates that ITP can easily mutate into ET.
Both disorders can affect anyone, but ITP is more common in women and children, while ET mostly affects people over 50 years old.
ITP symptoms may include:
- Easy bruising or bleeding
- Petechiae (small red dots on the skin)
- Enlarged spleen
Celebrities with ITP
1. Julia Roberts
Roberts is an American actress. For her, ITP presented itself in the form of bruises.
The doctors confirmed the diagnosis when she was urged by her husband to seek medical attention.
Though she didn’t speak of her illness until recently, Roberts has been battling ITP for the last 15 years, taking daily medication to manage the condition.
2. Laura Hamilton
Hamilton is an English TV presenter. She first spoke of her condition in 2020.
She stated that she was diagnosed with ITP towards the end of 2015 when she noticed multiple bruising on her legs.
She openly discusses her condition on air, raising awareness for people who are living with the disorder.
3. Jonathan Davis
Davis is a 52-year-old American singer-songwriter, musician, producer, and father of three.
He was diagnosed with ITP in 2006 during a tour and had to be admitted for close to two weeks.
He says that he delved into video gaming to escape from the disorder and remain distracted, which works for him.
4. Lisa Blount
Blount was an American actress and producer.
Her mother, Margaret, found her dead on October 27, 2010, in her home.
It is then that Margaret revealed that Blound had been batting ITP, which could have very likely been the cause of her untimely demise.
5. Mandy Moore
Moore is an American actress and singer-songwriter.
She was diagnosed with ITP in August 2022.
She was pregnant with her second child at the time when she revealed that she would have to go through the entire delivery process unmedicated because of her condition.
To Sum Up
Both ET and ITP are tough disorders to live with, especially since they are uncurable.
Regardless, the celebrities mentioned above go about their daily business, balancing health, family, and career, without letting it show on their faces.
It is touching to see people like Tyrrell, who carried on acting even after her legs were amputated.
With medication and treatment, and by avoiding triggers and stress, they have all managed their illnesses successfully.
It is truly remarkable what they are doing, and we applaud them for raising awareness to these rare blood disorders.