Bella Hadid says her Lyme disease symptoms have worsened since she turned 18, with daily headaches, joint pain, and chronic fatigue

Bella Hadid says her Lyme disease symptoms have worsened since she turned 18, with daily headaches, joint pain, and chronic fatigue
Bella Hadid walks the runway during the Jean-Paul Gaultier Haute Couture Spring/Summer 2020 show as part of Paris Fashion Week at Theatre Du Chatelet on January 22, 2020 in Paris, France.Peter White/Getty Images
  • 23-year-old model Bella Hadid shared her personal story with Lyme disease on Instagram, detailing symptoms like headaches, joint pain, brain fog, fatigue, and fever.
  • Hadid said she has struggled with the illness nearly every day since she was about 14, with symptoms worsening after age 18.
  • Chronic lyme disease is sometimes a controversial term that can refer to a variety of different illnesses after an infection caused by a tick bite. It's not well understood, and treatment can be tricky.

Bella Hadid has offered a rare glimpse into her personal battle with chronic illness on Instagram, sharing in her Stories that the "invisible illness" has become more of a burden over time.

The 23-year-old model said she has experienced symptoms continually since the age of 14, but that they started to get worse after she turned 18.

The disease is linked to a long list of possible symptoms like headache, fatigue, muscle and joint pain, numbness, cramps, fever, sensitivity to light, insomnia, confusion, trouble concentrating, and memory problems.

"Every day I feel at least 10 of these attributes without fail ... since I was probably 14, but more aggressively when I turned 18," she wrote.

The model has previously said she takes daily medications to treat the illness, but struggles to get out of bed. The illness also cut short her previous endeavors in equestrianism, since pain and exhaustion made it difficult for her to continue riding horses, Elle reported.


Complications from Lyme disease aren't well understood, and can be difficult to treat

The term "chronic Lyme disease" has been used to describe a variety of ailments or more connected to possible or confirmed infection from a tick bite, transmitting Borrelia burgdorferibacteria. It occurs when symptoms persist for 6 months or more after the infection has been treated with antibiotics.

But the diagnosis is sometimes controversial in the medical community, since there is no clinical definition or consistently usage, so the preferred term is Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS), according to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases (NIAID).

It's not clear why some people continue to experience symptoms, sometimes for years, after Lyme disease. Experts believe it may be related to an immune system response to the infection, or potentially ongoing infection that current tests are unable to detect. In either case, treatment is difficult and there is currently no proven cure for PTLDS, although continued antibiotics sometimes help, according to the CDC.

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