Christina Applegate is battling multiple sclerosis, a recent Twitter thread reveals. The Dead to Me star opened up about the disease on Tuesday, saying that her diagnosis has been a tough and strange journey. She implored fans to respect her need for privacy at such a difficult time. Applegate had previously gone public about her tussle against breast cancer. She underwent a double mastectomy in 2008 and is officially cancer-free.
Check out Christina Applegate’s full statement below:
Multiple sclerosis is both an autoimmune defect and a movement disorder. It belongs to the same family as lupus and sarcoidosis, which create antibodies that target the body’s natural processes, and dystonia and Parkinson’s disease, which disrupt the central nervous system’s ability to relay signals from the brain and affects mobility as a whole. The disease is deeply degenerative, in that it only gets worse over time. For Christina Applegate — a journey, indeed. There are different subcategories of multiple sclerosis, ranging from episodes with a 24-hour lifespan to more progressive versions.
Christina Applegate was reportedly only diagnosed “a few months ago,” and likely hasn’t been assessed on the type of MS she’s suffering from. Health problems of this scale are usually tricky to diagnose, as it shares traits with other known conditions, and it can take years to arrive at a mutually acceptable conclusion. Narrowing down the specifics of the disease could take even longer.
Known to the medical sphere as encephalomyelitis disseminata, multiple sclerosis is a demyelinating illness of the central nervous system. Brain cells have natural insulation to regulate electrical impulses being disseminated throughout the body, and in a person with multiple sclerosis, these little blankets of fluff are routinely damaged. This warps the signals being sent through the spinal cord, resulting in lopsided movement, faulty bodily processes, mental and emotional discomfort, and trouble with physical sensations. The public hasn’t seen Christina Applegate since her initial relapse from multiple sclerosis, so it’s difficult to tell how far her condition has progressed.
Symptoms are all-encompassing, given the massive scope of the disease, and can manifest as semi-blindness, muscular limitations, incontinence, abnormal bowel movement, sexual dysfunction, mental health issues, and other serious neurological problems. Whether by flawed genetics or infectious microbes, multiple sclerosis is caused by faulty myelin-producing cells or the total annihilation of one’s immune system. To give you an idea of how terribly Christina Applegate may be faring, multiple sclerosis can only be treated with medication and physical therapy, and has no known cure. Patients lose up to 10 years of their lives battling this disease.
Christina Applegate is one of comedy’s most adaptable talents, evidenced by a rather storied trek through some of the industry’s most beloved sitcoms. She won an Emmy guesting as Rachel’s self-absorbed sister Amy on Friends. She would later be nominated for a host of other roles, including amnesiac real estate agent Sam Newly in Samantha Who?, which ran for two seasons from 2007 to 2009, and most recently Dead to Me’s Jen Harding, another realtor but this time executive produced by Applegate herself. The show, which revolves around two women (Applegate and Linda Cardellini) grieving their newly deceased husbands, is currently streaming its second season on Netflix.