Gigi Hadid was forced to become independent at a young age. In an interview for her appearance on the March cover of Elle, the internationally-known supermodel revealed that she often had to take care of herself as a child, due to the health issues that affected three of her family members.
Hadid’s mother Yolanda, 55, sister Bella, 22, and brother Anwar, 19, all suffer from chronic Lyme disease. The disease is a bacterial infection caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, which is often carried in ticks, according to Healthline. There is an antibiotic treatment course for patients with Lyme disease, but some cases see symptoms persist — even after the treatment is complete. Symptoms often include fatigue, restless sleep, pain, aching muscles, swelling in large joints, inability to concentrate, and speech problems.
When her mother struggled through the symptoms, Hadid had to help out the family.
“My mom couldn’t drive or get out of bed some days, so I took my brother to school with me, or I made lunch,” she said.
The 23-year-old model continued on to say that it was even harder to be the only one who couldn’t understand what her family was going through. Hadid often felt guilty for not understanding.
“It’s hard when your whole family is in pain and you don’t know what to do,” she explained.
When she spoke to Entertainment Tonight about the disease back in 2015, Hadid said that she often struggled to be her family’s hope and strength — even while she didn’t fully understand Lyme disease.
Hadid does not suffer from Lyme disease as the rest of her family, but she was diagnosed with Hashimoto’s disease while in high school. This condition means that the immune system attacks the thyroid gland, leading to an underactive thyroid, the model told Elle.
It is often treated with thyroid hormone replacement medication. While most patients see the disease when they’re middle-aged, it can affect younger adults as well. Many of the symptoms are similar to that of Lyme disease, but Hashimoto’s can also include hair loss, sensitivity to cold, brittle nails, weight gain, and more.
“In high school, I had a lot of water retention. Even after extra workouts, I had bloat that wouldn’t go away. And I was always tired. That was tough,” Hadid said.
Hadid explained that the medication can lead to “bad things” when taken for too long, so her mother helped her to find different treatments, including CBD treatments in California.
“You can make a life for yourself in ways that won’t hurt your body,” she said.