Jeff Hordley health: ‘I was sick and tired’ Emmerdale star on his chronic health battle

14:43 26/09/2019 |

Jeff Hordley, 49, has played the mischievous Cain Dingle on ITV’s Emmerdale for almost two decades, a role he first took up in 2000. Around this time, he was diagnosed with Crohn’s disease, a lifelong condition that causes parts of the digestive system to become inflamed. At the time, the actor was worried the diagnosis would derail his promising acting career. Back in 2009, Jeff spoke to Express.co.uk to shed a light on the common the symptoms of Crohn’s disease.

The soap star first experienced warning signs in his early twenties. After alerting doctors to his stomach pain, they initially put it down to irritable bowel syndrome.

He revealed: “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 diagnosed with Crohn’s disease a month before his 26th birthday after he was referred by his GP to a specialist at Manchester Royal Infirmary.

According to the NHS, the main symptoms of Crohn’s disease are:

  • Diarrhoea – which may come on suddenly
  • Stomach aches and cramps – most often in the lower-right part of the tummy
  • Blood in poo
  • Tiredness (fatigue)
  • Weight loss
  • A person with Crohn’s disease might not experience all these symptoms, however.

The Emmerdale star experienced diarrhoea, stomach pain, severe tiredness and weight loss.

He added: “Some sufferers may also experience swollen joints, mouth ulcers, inflamed eyes and rashes on their body.”

How to treat it

While there is no cure for Crohn’s disease, a combination of treatments and dietary tweaks can help to keep symptoms at bay.

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Speaking on ambassador to the charity Crohn’s and Colitis UK, the actor revealed how he keeps his symptoms in check: “Following surgery, medication and diet control, I’ve been playing the role of Cain Dingle since 2000.”

Speaking to the Loose Women panel earlier this year, the star provided further insight into his dietary regime, which consists of growing his own food and keeping active.

He said: “It’s great, we’ve done it for years, we have carrots and everything.

“It’s good for us to grow it. I have Crohn’s disease so where we’re eating what we grow, it’s better for me.”

Jeff added he has “listened” to his body over the years and now knows which foods to avoid.

He said: “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.

“I’ve found for me personally, diet and exercise has help a lot.”

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