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Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten rushed to hospital with 'rare and severe' life-threatening illness

The actress has been diagnosed with milk alkali syndrome

Former Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten, 37, was rushed to hospital on Saturday with "excruciating chest, stomach and back pains," and on Monday gave her fans a health update.

MORE: Emmerdale's Gemma Oaten reveals 13-year anorexia battle caused heart attack as a teen

Writing on Instagram, Gemma shared a lengthy explanation of her illness. "I've been in hospital since Saturday and things quickly took a turn for the worse," she wrote. "As many know. I tested positive for Covid last Tuesday but woke early hours Saturday morning with excruciating chest, stomach and back pains. I called 111 for advice and they sent an ambulance and it's all been a blur and very surreal, but too real as well if that makes sense?"

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Gemma shared a selfie from her hopsital bed

"Long story short and I'll explain more when I am ready and fully fit, but I was diagnosed with milk alkali syndrome which in rare and severe cases (like mine) leads to kidney failure or worse, death.

MORE: Emmerdale star Gemma Oaten bravely opens up about dad's cancer battle

READ: Gemma Oaten speaks candidly about 13-year battle with anorexia

"For now, self-care and rest for me, so please bear with. This has been a wake-up call and I need time to process it all too," the actress concluded.

What is milk alkali syndrome?

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Gemma Oaten has been in hospital since Saturday

Milk alkali syndrome is a condition where there is a high level of calcium in the body which can lead to kidney failure, or death in severe cases, as Gemma explained.

RELATED: Matt Tebbutt shares health update following emergency surgery

Symptoms of milk alkali syndrome include excessive urination and fatigue along with headaches and confusion, nausea, and as Gemma experienced, chest and back pains.

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Gemma is keeping busy in hospital

Though Gemma didn't share what caused her milk alkali syndrome, the condition is often caused by consuming too much calcium carbonate.

To treat the syndrome, sufferers need to reduce the amount of calcium in their diet. Upping their fluid intake can help too.

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