by Katie Kausch
Millions of Americans live with some form of a disability -- and in many cases, you'd never be able to tell just by looking at them.
Fifty-four million Americans -- about 20% of the population -- live with some level of disability. Of those, 96% have an invisible disability. Invisible disabilities "can present with varying symptoms such as debilitating pain, fatigue, dizziness, weakness, cognitive dysfunctions (brain fog), learning differences and mental disorders, as well as hearing and vision impairments," according to Molly's Fund, a lupus advocacy group. "Most of these chronic invisible conditions are not always obvious to an observer, but can sometimes or often limit daily activities."
In honor of Invisible Illness Awareness Week, here are 9 celebs that live with an invisible illness or disability:
At the age of 13, the "Jealous" singer discovered he has diabetes, meaning his body does not naturally produce enough insulin.
"For someone who had no bad medical history ever to suddenly have the shock of diabetes was a bit overwhelming in itself, and then I had to learn all about it, learn all these things in such a short period of time. All of it was crazy," Jonas told Diabetes Health in 2007. " I also wondered if I could continue making music…but I had the support of my friends and the band to be there with me. "
Jonas has been an outspoken advocate for others with type-one diabetes, and would regularly preface the Jonas Brother's song "A Little Bit Longer" with a story about his trouble adjusting to life with diabetes.
When the songstress cancelled some of her Stars Dance Tour and checked into rehab, it wasn't for drug and alcohol problems, as many assumed.
“I was diagnosed with lupus, and I’ve been through chemotherapy. That’s what my break was really about. I could’ve had a stroke," Gomez told Billboard Magazine. “I wanted so badly to say, ‘You guys have no idea. I’m in chemotherapy. You’re assholes.' I locked myself away until I was confident and comfortable again.”
Chemotherapy can destroy the immune system and is used to treat lupus in severe cases. Lupus is an autoimmune disease, meaning an overactive immune system essentially attacks healthy parts of the body.
Bella Hadid's mother Yolanda Foster recently revealed that the model and Olympic hopeful lives with chronic Lyme's Disease, as does her brother, Anwar.
"[God] changed my destiny 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 and my journey struck the deepest chord of hopelessness inside of me, and it’s because of them that I’m motivated to stand here in front of you today," Foster, who also lives with Lyme's, said at the 2015 Global Lyme Alliance Gala.
Avril Lavigne recently opened up about her months-long struggle with Lyme Disease, which is caused by a tick bite.
"I was in Los Angeles, and it was literally the worst time of my life," Lavigne said in an interview with Good Morning America. "I was seeing every specialist, and literally like the top doctors ... It was so stupid. They would pull up their computer and be like, 'Chronic fatigue syndrome' or 'Why don't you try to get out of bed, Avril, and just go play the piano?' or 'Are you depressed?' "
The "Girlfriend" singer's experience is sadly typical of a patients search for the right diagnosis. "This is what they do to a lot of people that have Lyme disease," Lavigne said. "They don't have an answer for them, so they tell them ... 'You're crazy.' "
Jessie J has a genetic condition called Wolff-Parkinson-White syndrome, which causes an irregular heartbeat and shortness of breath. At 18 she even had a minor stroke as a result of the disease.
"There would be times when I’d be acting normal and then I’d just collapse," Jessie J wrote in the Daily Mail. "It was only then that people would realize I wasn’t well. I suppose I was good at covering it up and I know I’m very good at that now."
Carrie Ann InabaGetty
The "Dancing With The Stars" judge revealed in 2013 that she lives with osteoarthritis in her neck and spinal stenosis, both of which cause intense neck pain and can be traced back to her dance career.
"It came as a complete shock when I was diagnosed with arthritis. I thought my pain had been caused by work and travel overload. People my age are not supposed to get arthritis, right?" Inaba told Yahoo! News. "Wrong! It is a common misconception that the disease strikes only our grandparents. In fact, arthritis affects 50 million adults, two-thirds of them under the age of 65, including 300,000 children. It is the nation's leading cause of disability, and to date there is still no cure."
Lil Wayne's struggle with epilepsy has been well-documented over the years. In March of 2013 the Young Money rapper was hospitalized for over a week, which he later told Los Angeles’ Power 106 was because of multiple seizures.
Because seizures can sometimes cause lapses in memory, Lil' Wayne has said he wouldn’t even be aware of what was happening if his family and friends didn’t fill him it. "I told them the other day, 'Y'all can tell me right now that y'all was lying', like 'You know what? We lyin' ain't nothin,' and I'd have to believe them because I don't know," he told MTV News in 2013. "I go to sleep and wake up in the hospital. I don’t feel anything. I'm 100, I just hope it stops happening."
Cannon posted a snap of him in the hospital, with the caption, "Don't worry, Temporary pit stop... Sometimes I can be a little too bull headed and stubborn. I gotta stop running my body to the ground. I be wanting to grind nonstop but the engine can't run on fumes."
It might come as surprise that Morgan Freeman, who has played God in more than one movie, lives with fibromyalgia, an incurable and little understood condition that causes chronic pain. Freeman's pain stems from an accident the actor was involved in back in 2008. After his car flipped, Freeman had multiple surgeries to try and repair the shattered bones in his shoulder, but it left nerve damage.
"I have fibromyalgia pain in [my left] arm, and the only thing that offers any relief is marijuana," Freeman told The Daily Beast about how he lives with the pain.