Jeff Hordley, 49, has played Cain Dingle in ITV’s Emmerdale since 2000. The actor has become a fan favourite on the show. When he initially joined the soap, however, he wasn’t so optimistic about his future prospects. Four years before he entered the soap, the star was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a lifelong condition in which parts of the of the digestive system become inflamed. It is one of the main forms of Inflammatory Bowel Disease.
I kept losing weight
Speaking to the Express.co.uk, he revealed the initial warning signs.
He said: “Even though I tried to avoid foods that upset my digestive system, such as coffee and Chinese takeaways, I was still sick and tired and I kept losing weight.
“I was a drama student in Manchester and sometimes I had to miss lectures because I was too tired. I even had to drop out of my final year plays.”
Speaking as an ambassador of Crohn’s disease charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the actor voiced concerned that it the chronic condition would derail his promising acting career.
According to the NHS, weight loss and being sick can signal Crohn’s disease.
People may also experience:
- Diarrhoea – which may come on suddenly
- Stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of a person’s tummy
- Blood in their poo
- Feeling and being sick
- Joint pains
- Sore, red eyes
- Patches of painful, red and swollen skin – usually on the legs
- Mouth ulcers
Fortunately, Jeff has managed to keep symptoms under control through a combination of surgery, medication and following specific dietary regime.
Appearing on Loose Women earlier in the year, the actor shed a light on his dietary approach.
The actor eats organically, growing his own vegetables.
Referring to his home life, said: “It’s good for us to grow it. I have Crohn’s disease so where we’re eating what we grow, it’s better for me.”
According to Crohn’s and Colitis UK, poor absorption in a person’s intestines and loss of appetite, which is often linked to Crohn’s disease, may deprive a person’s body of essential nutrients.
It is therefore essential that a person with Crohn’s disease eats a nutritious diet to stave off the risk of malnutrition, notes the charity.
According to the charity, some people with Crohn’s disease may benefit from the following dietary suggestions:
- Limit dairy products
- Try low-fat foods
- Experiment with fibre
- Avoid “gassy” foods
- Eat smaller meals
- Drink plenty of water
Exercise has also played a key role in managing the actor’s condition.
He said: “I know what’s good for me and what’s not good for me and exercise helps me. It can vary from person to person.
“I’ve found for me personally, diet and exercise has helped a lot.”
Research points to the health benefits of exercise. A study published in the journal Inflammatory Bowel Diseases focused on people who were in remission from Crohn’s.
The study found that those who exercised more were less likely to experience a flare after six months than people who didn’t do as much physical activity.
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