Talk show host Wendy Williams has something to get off her chest, and this time it’s about her and not an A-list celebrity. On Feb. 21, Williams announced she has been diagnosed with Graves’ disease and is taking time off her show to recuperate.
Per doctor’s orders, the popular daytime personality is taking three weeks off from The Wendy Williams Show to get a handle on her illness. She made her announcement live on the air, explaining to her audience that Graves’ disease is an autoimmune disorder the leads to the overproduction of thyroid hormones or hyperthyroidism.
When the thyroid is working normally, the thyroid hormones regulate the metabolism. But if they are produced in excess, they cause a range of symptoms including fatigue, weight loss, and overheating, according to Healthline.
About 30 percent of Graves’ disease sufferers, including Williams, also deal with inflamed eyes. This is referred to as Graves’ ophthalmopathy. “Graves disease squeezes the muscles behind your eyeballs,” Williams explained. It can also lead to double vision, light sensitivity, and even vision loss, according to the Mayo Clinic.
She admitted she has also experienced other concerning symptoms: “I feel like there are birds flying around my head. It’s like I’m constantly high — but I’m not high!”
You can watch Williams’ announcement about her hiatus on her show here:
Graves’ disease affects one in 200 people, most commonly women under 40, according to the National Institute of Health. Other common symptoms include:
- irregular heartbeat
- reduced libido or erectile dysfunction
- heat senstitivity
- extreme tiredness
- irregular heartbeat
- hair loss
No one is sure why Graves’ disease develops but it is thought to be a combination of both genetic and environmental factors. It may effect women more frequently due to hormones.
Williams acknowledged that she had not been feeling well for awhile. For example, she fainted on air during an episode in October. Williams explained that she attributed not feeling well to menopausal hormonal changes in her body and the stress of raising a teenager. But the 53-year-old host said her doctor gave her a Graves’ disease diagnosis and ordered her to rest.
“My doctor has prescribed — are you ready? — as of today, three weeks of vacation,” Williams told her audience. She then joked, “I’ll be back in two. I’m not an heiress! Who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class.”
On a more serious note, Williams implored her fans not to neglect their health. “What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said.
Reruns will air until she is back and ready to work, according to TMZ. We wish Williams a good rest during her hiatus and hope she’s feeling better soon!