Bella Hadid Reveals Chronic Lyme Symptoms—What You Need to Know
The 26-year-old model was diagnosed with Lyme disease in 2012.
After years of battling chronic Lyme disease, Bella Hadid says that she is "finally healthy." On Aug. 6, the supermodel posted on Instagram about her lengthy experience with chronic Lyme disease and shared photos documenting her journey since being diagnosed over 10 years ago. The carousel of images includes pictures of medical records that list out Bella's symptoms and show her test results, as well as shots of the 26-year-old star hooked up to IVs.
Bella has been candid about how chronic Lyme disease has impacted her life and overall health, and in her new post, she explains that she recently underwent over 100 days of treatment that she credits with getting her to the healthier place she is today. Read on to find out what symptoms she's dealt with and to learn more about chronic Lyme disease.
Bella was diagnosed when she was 16.
Bella was diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in 2012. She shares the diagnosis with her mother, Yolanda Hadid, and her younger brother, Anwar Hadid. Yolanda shared that two of her children were suffering from the same condition as her during a speech at the Global Lyme Alliance gala in 2015.
"When my two youngest children, Bella and Anwar, were diagnosed with chronic Lyme disease in early 2012, watching my babies struggle in silence in order to support me in my journey, struck the deepest core of hopelessness inside of me," the former Real Housewives of Beverly Hills star said while receiving an award, as reported by People.
"This award is for Anwar and Bella," she continued. "This is my token and my promise to you that I will not allow you to live a life of pain and suffering. I will walk to the end of the earth to find a cure so that you can live a healthy life that you deserve."
Bella has spoken out about her ongoing health struggles.
In the years since her mom revealed her diagnosis, Bella has been speaking publicly, including on social media, about her experience with chronic Lyme disease.
"Life isn't always what it looks like on the outside, and the hardest part of this journey is to be judged by the way you look instead of the way you feel," she said during her own speech at the Global Lyme Alliance gala in 2016 (via People).
In 2021, Bella posted a photo to Instagram of her receiving an IV treatment. "Living with a few chronic auto immune disorders = always finding time for my IVs," she wrote in the caption.
More recently, in April 2023, she posted on TikTok about having a jaw infection that "made my Lyme flare up," as reported by Teen Vogue. She said that this meant "the Lyme is attacking the places that are suffering ie tooth, jaw, guy, brain, spine, bones etc oh, and the entire nervous system."
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She shared records documenting her symptoms.
In her new Instagram post, Bella shared a medical record from 2014 that lists out her many symptoms. The list includes fatigue, calculation difficulties, memory disturbances, frequently saying the wrong word, numbness or tingling, muscular weakness, muscle and joint aches, night sweats, palpitations, sleep disorders, and many more.
The 26-year-old has named other specific symptoms over the years. As reported by Health, in 2020 she posted a infographic on Instagram that lists out nearly 30 Lyme disease symptoms, including headache, cognitive issues, speech issues, insomnia, vision issues, mood disorders, abdominal pain, join paint, and muscle spasms. Bella wrote next to the image, "Everyday I feet at least 10 of these attributes without fail… since I was probably 14, but more aggressively when I turned 18.
When Bella posted about her jaw infection, she also mentioned her Lyme disease flare-ups, "I get (what feels like) lesions, lethargy, chronic anxiety, zero motivation or purpose, leaky gut, adrenals, depressed [sic]," she said.
She was recently in a treatment program.
In July, E! News reported that Bella was on medical leave from her modeling career to receive treatment for chronic Lyme disease. "She is treating her Lyme disease," a source said. "She is not in rehab and has never had a drug or alcohol issue."
Her sister and fellow supermodel Gigi Hadid confirmed this, as reported by People. Gigi posted a photo of her and her sister on Instagram and wrote that she couldn't wait for her comeback. The 28-year-old later explained on her Instagram story, "Just wanna touch on this post from last week. Bella just finished a long and intense treatment for Lyme disease. Didn't want some to take my post as a promise she'll be back for shows this next season…)."
She says she's "finally healthy."
In her Aug. 6 Instagram post, Bella wrote, "the little me that suffered would be so proud of grown me for not giving up on myself."
She continued, "Living in this state, worsening with time and work while trying to make myself, my family and the people who support me, proud, had taken a toll on me in ways I can't really explain. To be that sad and sick with the most blessings/privilege/opportunity/love around me was quite possibly the most confusing thing ever." She added, "If I had to go through all of this again, to get here, to this exact moment I'm in right now, with all of you, finally healthy, I would do it all again. It made me who I am today."
Of her recent treatment, she wrote, "I have so much gratitude for and perspective on life, this 100+ days of Lyme, chronic disease, co infection treatment, almost 15 years of invisible suffering, was all worth it if I'm able to, God willing, have a lifetime of spreading love from a full cup, and being able to truly be myself, For the first time ever." She also thanked her doctor and the nurses who helped her.
"Chronic Lyme disease" is not a universally accepted diagnosis.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infection Diseases "Lyme disease, or borreliosis, is caused by the bacterium Borrelia burgdorferi and is transmitted to humans through the bite of an infected blacklegged deer tick."
The NIAID website explains of "chronic Lyme disease", "While the term is sometimes used to describe illness in patients with Lyme disease, it has also been used to describe symptoms in people who have no clinical or diagnostic evidence of a current or past infection with B. burgdorferi. Because of the confusion in how the term CLD is employed, and the lack of a clearly defined clinical definition, many experts in this field do not support its use." Instead, the site uses the term "Post Treatment Lyme Disease Syndrome (PTLDS)" to describe patients who continue to suffer from symptoms after receiving treatment.
In 2015, Dr. Raphael Kellman explained to People how Bella, Yolanda, and Anwar could all have Lyme disease. "It's not uncommon that a few members of a family have Lyme disease. … But it's not genetic, it's because they share the same environment," he said.