Stronger Than Ever: 5 Inspiring Women Who Overcame Their Chronic Illnesses

Chronic illnesses or diseases are usually incurable conditions that are the leading cause of death or disability in the United States. Fortunately, they are often preventable and manageable. Approximately 133 Americans have at least one chronic disease.

Despite the constant battles and obstacles, these incredible women have not let their illnesses deter them, or undermine their strengths. Thanks to social media, these women are able to spread awareness and knowledge about chronic illnesses.

1. Selena Gomez
Gomez has kept her diagnoses private for a long time but is now not ashamed to share the realities of her chronic illness, lupus. She was forced to cancel a tour because of the autoimmune disease, but she bounced back. Nothing can stop her from performing because, well, 'the heart wants what it wants.'


A photo posted by Selena Gomez (@selenagomez) on

2. Lena Dunham
The creator of the hit HBO series "Girls" is dealing with endometriosis which affects 1 in 10 women's reproductive health. This chronic illness can be very painful because it causes scarring to the fallopian tube, which leads to fertility problems. Dunham is an advocate for endometriosis and has published a memoir called "Not That Kind of Girl." She uses Instagram to spread knowledge and share inspiration.


A photo posted by Lena Dunham (@lenadunham) on

3. Toni Braxton
The R&B singer-songwriter was diagnosed with lupus and antiphospholipid syndrome at the young age of 15. APS is an autoimmune disorder that causes blood clots because the normal proteins in the blood are mistakenly attacked. These illnesses haven't prevented her from winning six Grammy awards, seven American Music Awards and nine Billboard awards. Braxton has sold over 66 million records and is living proof you can accomplish anything you set your heart out to.


A photo posted by Toni Braxton (@tonibraxton) on

4. Missy Elliot
One of the most notable female rappers suffers from grave's disease, which is the most common of all thyroid problems. It is also the leading cause of hyperthyroidism, a condition in which the thyroid gland produces excessive hormones. At one point Elliott's symptoms were so severe, she could not even hold a pen to write songs. Even though she's battled with this illness for years, it hasn't stopped her from winning five Grammy awards — among her many other accomplishments. 

5. Ally Hilfiger
After years of misdiagnoses from doctors, the daughter of fashion mogul Tommy Hilfiger was diagnosed with chronic lyme disease at the age of seven. Lyme Disease it caused from a tick bite and is accompanied by vision loss, joint pain, and fatigue. She recently published a memoir called "Bite Me," which discusses about her how she's overcome this obstacle. Hilfiger shows us that you can have a fulfilling life despite tribulations.


A photo posted by Ally Hilfiger (@allyhilfiger) on

NEXT: Diane Von Furstenberg On Women's Strengths »

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