Why Is 'Real Housewives' Michaele Salahi Talking Multiple Sclerosis?

Jeanne Sager

Michaele and Tareq SalahiMichaele Salahi has finally done it.

The White House party crasher and new Real Housewife dropped a bombshell that makes us feel bad for her.

No, not that Obama won't return her calls.

Turns out Salahi has multiple sclerosis.

The neurological disease affects everyone differently, but it's generally degenerative and can be disabling. Described as "chronic and unpredictable" by the MS Society, it affects some 400,000 Americans -- mostly women.

In fact we are two to three times more likely to be diagnosed than men.

Generally the news comes sometime between 20 and 50 -- putting the 44-year-old Salahi right in the not-so-sweet spot upon diagnosis.

Salahi says she was diagnosed 17 years ago, and up until now hasn't announced it publicly because she didn't want to be "judged."

Salahi says rumors that she was anorexic were too painful to bear -- and she wanted to clear it up by explaining her thin frame. Inability to put on weight is not a classic symptom of MS, but bladder and bowel issues are ... which can lead to weight loss.

In fact some 80 percent of MS sufferers have a bladder issue (although they can usually be controlled with treatment) and many have either constipation or diarrhea to contend with on a regular basis.

Just as common are fatigue, numbness, walking (gait), balance, & coordination problems, vision problems, dizziness and vertigo, sexual dysfunction, pain, depression and spasticity.

The disease manifests itself differently in each person -- so The Real Housewives of DC star could be showing the effects in almost any way.

We feel for her -- and all MS sufferers out there. But we can't help wondering if Salahi is trying to garner sympathy as she appears on a show known for taking its swipes from the media.

Were you surprised by the announcement?


Image via Splash News

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