Jeff Hordley, 49, grew up in Lancashire and joined the cast of Emmerdale in 2000. Recalling his first day on set, Jeff said to WhatsonTV: “It was nerve wracking. I arrived with Shadrach and Charity Dingle for Butch’s funeral. I remember driving over from Manchester on that first day and pinching myself, thinking ‘I can’t believe I am going to be one of the Dingles.’ It was a strange feeling and a strange day – but one I have fond memories of.”
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Jeff’s acting career has grown from strength to strength, however, it was during his final year at Manchester Metropolitan University School of Theatre he was first diagnosed with Crohn’s Disease.
Jeff had initially experienced warning signs of ill-health in his early twenties and alerted doctors to the pain he was experiencing in his stomach.
Doctors had initially put it down to an irritable bowel condition.
Speaking to Express.co.uk 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.”
He was finally diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, the very same disease that had taken his mother’s life.
How Crohn’s disease affects the body
Speaking with The Mirror, Jeff said: “As well as the diarrhoea and cramps I’d have episodes of horrendous stomach pains and vomiting.
“I dropped 12 stone to nine – which is a lot when you’re nearly six foot and I was really thin and pale.”
Crohn’s is a type of inflammatory bowel disease and is a lifelong condition in which parts of the digestive system become inflamed.
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What causes Crohn’s disease
The exact cause of the disease is still unknown, however, researchers believe Crohn’s disease is caused by a combination of factors involving genetics, the environment and an overactive immune system.
While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, using a combination of treatments and tweaking one’s diet, symptoms can be less mild.
“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,” Jeff added.
Jeff is now an Ambassador for the charity, Crohn’s & Colitus UK and said: “I was scared it would stop my acting career from taking off. Luckily it didn’t. Following surgery, medication and diet control, I’ve been playing the role of Cain Dingle since 2000.”
Symptoms of Crohn’s disease include a fever, diarrhoea, fatigue, abdominal pain, blood in the stools, mouth sores, reduced appetite and weight loss.
If you experience any of these symptoms it’s important to speak with your GP about the possible cause and best treatment.
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