Andrea McLean health: Loose Women host reveals ‘wake-up call’ health battle – what is it?

Andrea McLean health: Loose Women host reveals ‘wake-up call’ health battle – what is it?


Andrea McLean, is best summed up as that fun-loving figure off daytime television, an attribute that first captured the nation when she presented the weather on GMTV before becoming a co-presenter ITV’s daytime chat show Loose Women. With her career on the up, Andrea had much to be positive about, then, in 2016, her whole life was upended. A hysterectomy in 2016 revealed she had medium vessel ­vasculitis, one of the rarest and most dangerous types of the disease.


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Speaking to the Mirror, Andrea revealed how the diagnosis shifted her entire perspective on life: “It made me re-evaluate things. I suppose you could say it was a wake-up call.

“I wrote down a list of ambitions that I hadn’t pushed myself towards through fear or lack of ­confidence.”

She continued: “I didn’t want to look back on my life and wish I’d been brave enough to do something that was within my power to do, but a fear of failure held me back.”

Fortunately, doctors removed the affected area and after months of tests she was given the all-clear – for now.


What is vasculitis?

Vasculitis is a condition characterised by inflammation of the blood vessels.

As the NHS explains, inflammation is your immune system’s natural response to injury or infection.

It causes swelling and can help the body deal with invading germs.

“But in vasculitis, for some reason the immune system attacks healthy blood vessels, causing them to become swollen and narrow,” says the health body.

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This may be triggered by an infection or a medicine, although often the cause is unknown.

Vasculitis can range from a minor problem that just affects the skin, to a more serious illness that causes problems with organs like the heart or kidneys, it notes.

How do I know if I have it?

According to the charity Vasculitis UK, the symptoms caused by vasculitis will depend on the organs involved.

“However, some general symptoms include: tiredness, weakness, loss of appetite, weight loss, and fever,” explains the charity.


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Unfortunately many of these symptoms apply to other diseases which make it difficult to diagnose vasculitis, it added.

How to treat vasculitis

“Treatment focuses on controlling the inflammation with medications and resolving any underlying disease that triggered your vasculitis,” explains Mayo Clinic.

For your vasculitis, you may go through two treatment phases — first stopping the inflammation and then preventing relapse (maintenance therapy), explains the health site.

Both phases involve prescription drugs. Which drugs and how long you need to take them depend on the type of vasculitis, the organs involved and how serious your condition is, notes the health body.

“Some people have initial success with treatment, then experience flare-ups later. Others may never see their vasculitis completely go away and need ongoing treatment,” it adds.

When is surgery required?

As Mayo Clinic explains, sometimes, vasculitis causes a balloon-like bulge (aneurysm) to form in the wall of a blood vessel.

This bulge may need surgery, says the health site.

“Blocked arteries also may require surgical treatment,” it adds.

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