You would never know it, looking at Bhavna Limbachia but behind the beauty, confidence and youth is a hidden battle with a serious illness.
The actress, best known as Corrie nurse Rana Nazir discovered she was suffering from a condition called hypothyroidism five years ago.
The 32-year-old also stars as glamorous rebel Alia Khan in the hit BBC1 sitcom Citizen Khan.
Bhavna, who lives in Manchester, says finding out she was unwell like that was a huge shock. Speaking to The Mirror, she revealed:
“Around five years ago I noticed I was waking up feeling exhausted every day, as if I’d just run a marathon, despite having had eight or nine hours of sleep a night. I’m an active person and my life as an actress is pretty busy.
“At the time I was filming Citizen Khan, so initially I thought I was just run down from that. I tried to rest a bit more, but then my joints started aching and if I watched television for an hour or two my knees would lock.”
At first Bhavna says she thought it was just her creeping 30s starting to take their toll like anybody else, but her doctor was concerned.
After explaining her symptoms, including brittle hair and being sensitive to the cold, she was sent for blood tests. And when the results came back, it was a shock.
“They originally tested me for an over-active thyroid because I’ve always been underweight, but it turned out to be the opposite – I had an under-active thyroid.”
Bhavna was told there was nothing she could have done to stop the condition and it was also inherited.
“The doctors explained there was nothing I could have done to avoid it and that it can be hereditary – in my case it came from my father’s side.
“They said there was no cure and I would need medication for ever.
“That did scare me. I thought it was going to change my life, so being told this felt quite overwhelming.”
We all do the same thing when we’re diagnosed with something by the doctor and the Mancunian actress is no different – she researched her condition online. Luckily the internet had some good news.
“I found an article saying that a few people in the public eye have it, such as Oprah Winfrey and Dannii Minogue.
“That made me feel better. They are successful, busy women leading normal lives and I could be the same.”
With healthy eating the new order of the day, Bhavna’s had to cut out Betty’s Hot Pot! But she can still enjoy her food.
“I try to eat fresh, healthy, home-cooked balanced meals, but would never deprive myself of treats – I love ‘Fish and Chips Friday’ in the canteen at Coronation Street!
“My health issues have never impacted my work.
“At the end of last year I was filming both Coronation Street and Citizen Khan and doing crazy hours on both shows. It didn’t affect me at all.”