While it seems as though quite a few celebrities suffer from Lyme disease, the illness has more recently been making headlines in relation to supermodel Bella Hadid, who shared an update on her battle with the disease on 6 August 2023, and penned a lengthy Instagram post about “not giving up” as she continuously works to improve her health.
Hadid was diagnosed with the illness in 2013, and has since opened up multiple times on her Lyme disease treatments. In her Instagram post, she wrote: “The little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself.”
She went on to express her gratitude for her mum, Yolanda Hadid, who was diagnosed with the disease around 2012, for keeping track of her medical records and providing support during her own health struggle with the illness.
“Living in this state, worsening with time and work while trying to make myself, my family and the people who support me, proud, had taken a toll on me in ways I can’t really explain,” the model continued. “To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever.”
In her post—which was followed by two additional carousels—Hadid included photos of medical records dating back to 2013 that revealed some of her symptoms, such as extreme exhaustion, muscle, and joint aches and chest pain.
Seeing how big of an impact the illness has had on the young model and her career, it’s no surprise people are growing more and more curious about what Lyme disease is and where it comes from. So let’s unpack this together, shall we?
According to the NHS’ website, Lyme disease is “a bacterial infection that can be spread to humans by infected ticks.” These ticks are typically found in grassy or wooded areas.
Tick bites are similar to mosquito bites and form tiny, itchy bumps on the skin. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the disease is the most common tick-borne illness in the US.
The CDC also estimates that it receives about 30,000 reported cases of Lyme disease each year. And since it’s safe to assume that this number doesn’t include every case, the actual number of people who develop Lyme disease could be as high as 476,000, the national public health agency added.
Meanwhile, in the UK, although it should be noted that not all ticks carry the bacteria that causes Lyme disease, it’s still important to be aware of ticks and to safely remove them as soon as possible, just in case.
Ticks that may cause Lyme disease are found all over the UK, but high-risk places include areas in southern and northern England and the Scottish Highlands.
After getting bitten by a tick, a circular or oval-shaped rash around the bite can be an early symptom of Lyme disease in some people. The rash can take up to three months to appear, but usually appears within one to four weeks, as stated by the NHS. Once it does show up on the skin, it can last for several weeks.
The rash can have a darker or lighter area in the centre and might gradually spread. The rash may be flat, or slightly raised, and look pink, red, or purple when it appears on white skin. It can be harder to see the rash on brown and black skin and it may look like a bruise. It’s not usually hot or itchy, however.
Some people also get flu-like symptoms a few days or weeks after they were bitten by an infected tick, such as a high temperature, headache, muscle and joint pain, tiredness, loss of energy, and swollen lymph nodes.
Most cases can be treated successfully with antibiotics, but if Lyme disease is not detected early, it can cause serious and debilitating symptoms, including numbness, irregular heartbeats and nerve pain.
First of all, not all tick bites are painful. Heck, you might not even notice a tick unless you see it. That being said, you should regularly check for ticks on your clothes and skin after being outdoors, and do the same with children and pets.
Not only Bella suffers from Lyme disease, her mother, Yolanda, and her younger brother, Anwar also have it. Aside from the Hadids, other celebrities such as Justin Bieber, Shania Twain, Amy Schumer, and Avril Lavigne also suffer from the illness.