Jeff Hordley health: Emmerdale star’s fear “Am I going to die?”

Jeff Hordley, 44, had been struggling with ill health which included cramps, vomiting and bouts of diarrhoea. Not suspecting it was anything too serious, Jeff underwent several hospital tests and was told the devastating news. Speaking with The Mirror, he said: “As well as the diarrhoea and cramps I’d have episodes of horrendous stomach pains and vomiting. I dropped from 12 stone to nine – which is a lot when you’re nearly six foot – and I was really thin and pale.”

When I was just nine, my mum had died from the very same illness back in 1979. My reaction was, ‘Am I going to die too?

Jeff Hordley

Speaking Express.co.uk Jeff recalled that time: “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.

“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.”

After several hospital tests, Jeff was told the devastating news, something he had feared since he was a child.

The doctors told him he had Crohn’s Disease, the very same disease that had taken his mother’s life when he was a young boy.

Jeff explained: “When I was just nine, my mum had died from the very same illness back in 1979. My reaction was, ‘Am I going to die too?’”

His fears quickly dissipated when doctors reassured him that Jeff’s mothers death had been caused by complications in surgery and that medical advancements meant that his condition could be more easily treated.

Chron’s disease is an inflammatory bowel disease. It causes inflammation of the digestive tract, which can lead to abdominal pain, severe diarrhoea, fatigue, weight loss and malnutrition.

An estimated 75 per cent of people with Crohn’s disease require some type of surgery to relieve their symptoms.

Jeff proceeded to have an operation and was put on medication to help prevent damage and, for severn years, he was perfectly fine.

But, in 2002, Jeff collapsed at a theatre, haemorrhaging blood from his back passage.

Mild gastrointestinal bleeding does often occur in Crohn’s disease, however, massive gastrointestinal haemorrhaging is rare.

Thankfully his relapse was handled expertly, and Jeff was able to go home and recover.

The whole ordeal made him take a hard look at his health and in a bid to become healthier, he quit smoking, cut down on alcohol, and ditched the processed foods from his diet.

He is now an ambassador for Crohn’s and Colitis UK, and hopes that, by sharing his story, he will encourage other sufferers to talk about their diagnosis. “Talk about it to your friends, loved ones and family.

“Bowels are a taboo subject but we need to get over embarrassment. I’ve been suffering for most of my life so I’m quite happy talking about bowels and using the word ‘poo’.”

The NHS said: “Crohn’s disease is a long-term condition that causes inflammation of the lining of the digestive system. The exact cause is unknown.

“However, research suggests a combination of factors may be responsible. These include genetics, the immune system, previous infections, smoking, and environmental factors.”

“I know what’s good for me and what’s not good for me and exercise helps me. It can vary from person to person. I’ve found for me personally, diet and exercise has helped a lot,” added Jeff.

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