Jeff Hordley health: Soap star on chronic condition – how to reduce symptoms

Jeff Hordley, 49, has made a name for himself in both acting and advocacy. The soap star has used his profile to raise awareness about living with Crohn’s disease. He was diagnosed with the chronic condition at the age of 26. Commenting on his condition on behalf of UK charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the soap star said: “You are not alone if you are suffering from Crohn’s or Colitis… although sometimes you might feel as if you are. There are at least 300,000 people with IBD in the UK – I’m one of them.”

Crohn’s disease is a lifelong condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed.

Crohn’s disease affects people of all ages, according to the NHS.

The symptoms usually start in childhood or early adulthood.

The condition typically causes weight loss and fatigue – symptoms that Hordley can relate to.

Speaking to Express.co.uk in 2009 he revealed: “Even though I tried to avoid foods that upset my digestive system, such as coffee and Chinese takeaways, I was still sick and tired and I kept losing weight. The soap star also experienced fatigue: “I was a drama student in Manchester and sometimes I had to miss lectures because I was too tired. I even had to drop out of my final year plays.”

The NHS outlines other common symptoms:

  • Diarrhoea – which may come on suddenly
  • Stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of the tummy
  • Blood in poo

Fortunately, measures can be taken to reduce the severity of symptoms and maintain quality of life.

Hordley revealed to the Mail Online back in 2013 that he underwent surgery to reduce the scarred part of his bowel.

This, along with medication, and diet control, has helped the TV favourite to control his condition and stay on top of his acting game.

He discovered that going on a wheat, dairy sugar and alcohol free diet for short periods at a time helps his symptoms and energy levels – he avoids coffee and monosodium glutamate, which he says aggravate his condition.

Speaking as an ambassador for Crohn’s or Colitis, Hordley explained that even simple lifestyle tweaks can make a difference: “I know it’s embarrassing to talk about it, but even simple solutions like being near a bathroom at work can make such an improvement.”

What causes Crohn’s disease?

The causes of Crohn’s disease is unknown.

As the NHS notes, several things could play a role however, including:

  • A person’s genes – a person is more likely to get it if a close family member has it
  • A problem with the immune system (the body’s defence against infection) that causes it to attack the digestive system
  • Smoking
  • A previous stomach bug
  • An abnormal balance of gut bacteria

Interestingly, people living in an urbanised environment are at a greater risk of developing the condition, notes the Mayo Clinic.

Ethnicity may also raise the risk, as the health site explained: “Although Crohn’s disease can affect any ethnic group, whites and people of Eastern European (Ashkenazi) Jewish descent have the highest risk.”

It added: “However, the incidence of Crohn’s disease is increasing among blacks who live in North America and the United Kingdom.”

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