OTTAWA — Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has been diagnosed with a rare skin disease called bullous pemphigoid.
Flaherty, 63, put an end to months of speculation about his health and appearance this week and went public with his diagnosis in an interview with the Globe and Mail.
"I would like those people who have been concerned about my health to be reassured that it is a skin problem that is getting better and will pass with some more time, and that my ability to do my job is not affected by this condition," Flaherty told the newspaper.
Treatment for the disease involves a powerful steroid, prednisone, the side effects of which include bloating of the face and weight gain. Over the last few months, political observers had noticed those symptoms and many worried about Flaherty's health. He says he told Prime Minister Stephen Harper just before Christmas and reassured him that his condition and treatment would not affect his job performance.