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Wendy Williams announces Graves Disease illness on show, ordered by doctors to take break from filming

Getty Images for Wilhelmina Models)

HOUSTON— Gossip Queen Wendy Williams announced on her show Wednesday that she is suffering from Graves Disease and will be taking time off to focus on her health.

Williams praised her audience, whom she calls her co-hosts, for noticing the bulging of her eyes and alerting her.

“My thyroid has been totally cattywampus and that is the eye thing that you all have been seeing. You caught it before I did,” said Williams.

“My thyroid, my Hypothyroid is attached also to Graves Disease,” said Williams. “Graves disease squeezes the muscles behind your eyeballs and so that’s the reason for…” (Wendy pauses and bucks her eyes).

The former radio personality said she noticed her mood swings and irritability, but thought the symptoms were due to to menopause and the stress of preparing her son for college.

“I’m going through menopause and applying for colleges and going over essays, and he got early acceptance into his favorite and I’m trying to make a normal senior year,” said Williams.

The Mayo Clinic describes Graves’ disease as an immune system disorder that results in the overproduction of thyroid hormones (hyperthyroidism).

Common signs and symptoms of Graves’ disease include:

  • Anxiety and irritability
  • A fine tremor of your hands or fingers
  • Heat sensitivity and an increase in perspiration or warm, moist skin
  • Weight loss, despite normal eating habits
  • Enlargement of your thyroid gland (goiter)
  • Change in menstrual cycles
  • Erectile dysfunction or reduced libido
  • Frequent bowel movements
  • Bulging eyes (Graves’ ophthalmopathy)
  • Fatigue
  • Thick, red skin usually on the shins or tops of the feet (Graves’ dermopathy)
  • Rapid or irregular heartbeat (palpitations)

Williams has been open about her thyroid issues in the past and the disease’s effects on her weight and the thinning of her hair.

Although many have criticized Williams for being too thin, the talk show host said she weighs a healthy 146 pounds after losing 50 pounds for her 50th birthday.

Williams said it’s important that women take care of themselves, because she felt that something was wrong, but kept putting off her doctor’s appointments to handle pressing business issues.

“As women, when we have families, we always put everything before us, including business. I had my endo (endocrinologist) appointment in December and it was cancelled for a very important business meeting. This guy is booked until August and my appointment was yesterday, which is where I get the news and I kinda knew it,” said Williams.  “So what I wanna say to women more than men — is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good.”

This isn’t the first time Williams has made headlines due to her health. Just last year, Williams collapsed while taping a live Halloween segment and attributed it to overheating in her costume. But many thought she had suffered a stroke.

Following her own advice, Williams shared that she will be taking time off to focus on her health and to get her meds adjusted.

“My doctor has prescribed, as of today, three weeks vacation. The push from the old medication needs to wear off before he prescribes new. That’s why three weeks, even though I’ve been off for one week, I’m going to fix that. I’ll be back in two,” she explained.

Fans have taken to social media to send Williams well wishes.