Ashton Kutcher says he has been suffering from vasculitis for over a year. Here's what it is

Ashton Kutcher says he has been suffering from vasculitis for over a year.

Ashton Kutcher recently revealed that he has been battling a serious autoimmune disease that affected his hearing, vision and ability to walk for over a year.

"Like two years ago, I had this weird, super rare form of vasculitis," Kutcher said in an exclusive clip released to Access Hollywood.

Complications from vasculitis claimed the life of actor and director Harold Ramis in 2014. Ramis, who directed "Caddyshack," "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Groundhog Day," and starred in "Ghostbusters" and "Stripes," died at age 69 years old, four years after contracting the disease.

Symptoms of vasculitis

Vasculitis occurs when the body's immune system attacks small veins, arteries, and capillaries. Inflammation narrows blood vessels, restricts blood flow, but also stops blood flow completely, possibly causing organ damage or creating an aneurysm (a bulge in the wall of a blood vessel). If an aneurysm ruptures, it can cause internal bleeding that can lead to death.

Depending on the specific type and severity of the condition and which organs are targeted, the symptoms of vasculitis vary and can be mild, moderate, or life-threatening. Common symptoms include loss of appetite, weight loss, fatigue, rash, pain and fever.

Age, ethnicity, family history, and lifestyle factors such as smoking and illicit drug use can contribute to the risk of vasculitis. Certain medications for high blood pressure, thyroid disease, and infections can also contribute.

Vasculitis can occur alone or together with other rheumatic diseases, such as rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, or scleroderma.