The first half of 2019 has been difficult for talk show host Wendy Williams. Not only is she involved in a messy separation from her husband of 21 years, she has been dealing with a slew of health issues.
Williams suffers from Graves’ disease, an autoimmune condition she was diagnosed with over 19 years ago. Also known as toxic goiter, the condition affects the function of the thyroid. It is the most common cause of hyperthyroidism, which is described by the American Thyroid Association as “a generalized overactivity of the entire thyroid gland.”
The disease, which affects 1 in 200 people, is often characterized by the shape of a patient’s eyes, which usually appear to be bulging. “I often feel like birds are swimming around my head. Like constantly high, but not high,” Williams explained on her show in 2018.
Back in January, the host’s team revealed she would taking a hiatus and spending a “significant time” hospitalized due to complications related to the disease, including hyperthyroidism. On top of it all, Williams, who has previously battled a drug addiction, also admitted to her fans that she checked herself into a sober house.
“For some time now, and even today and beyond, I have been living in a sober house,” she said. “When you see me come to work, glammed up, right after the show I go across the street and do my pilates – I told you, two hours a day, I like to take care of my body, and you know I’ve had a struggle with cocaine in the past.”
Williams finally returned to TV in March, and as usual, she isn’t keeping secrets from her viewers. On a recent episode of The Wendy Williams Show, the host revealed that she has been diagnosed with lymphedema. She shared the latest setback in her health while discussing paparazzi photos that showed her legs looking swollen.
According to the Mayo Clinic, lymphedema is a chronic condition that is usually caused by the damage or removal of the lymph nodes. The blockage of the lymphatic system that results “prevents lymph fluid from draining well, and the fluid buildup leads to swelling” of the limbs.
Williams reassured fans that despite the condition being incurable, she “got it under control,” thanks to a special machine.
“It’s not going to kill me, but I do have a machine — and how dare you talk about the swelling of it all,” she said on the show. “If [the swelling] in my feet never goes all the way down, at least I have this machine,” she explained. “I sit for 45 minutes a day. It’s the best party entertainer ever. Everybody [that] comes over wants to do it.”
Beside swelling, symptoms of lympedema include feeling of heaviness or tightness in the affected limbs, restricted range of motion, pain, discomfort, bacterial infections and hardening of the skin.
If you have any of these symptoms, you should see a doctor right away. Early diagnosis is key in managing the condition.