Get the superstar treatment you deserve! The Doctors reveals celebrity health tips.
This One’s For You
In a daytime TV first, singing sensation Barry Manilow opens up about the illness he’s dealt with for 15 years: atrial fibrillation (A-fib). A-fib affects 2.5 million people in the United States and causes an irregular heartbeat. Symptoms like pounding or fluttering in the chest, shortness of breath, weakness, fatigue and dizziness can seem harmless, but neglecting to obtain treatment may increase the risk of stroke and heart attack.
“What I’m learning is, not only do 2.5 million people have this, but if you don’t take care of it, you’re playing with fire,” Barry says. “This is dangerous.”
• Learn more about A-fib at getbackinrhythm.com.
Bret Michaels: Rock Legend, Health Hero
In just one year, rock legend Bret Michaels battled more health scares than most people face in a lifetime. The music heavyweight joins The Doctors to open up about his multiple medical crises and his lifelong battle with type-1 diabetes.
Bret bared an emergency appendectomy, a subarachnoid hemorrhage and heart surgery in just one year.
“I am very lucky to be here,” he says.
Following a concert in Dallas in April 2010, Bret says he woke up feeling sick to his stomach. He tried exercising to get through it, but describes what felt like a hot butter knife being forced into the lower part of his stomach. That’s when he knew something was wrong, and was rushed to the emergency room for an appendectomy.
That same year, Bret suffered a subarachnoid hemorrhage, a condition that causes bleeding between the brain and the thin tissues covering it, causing the skull to rapidly fill with blood. Its onset is said to be a sudden sound like a pop of a shotgun or a thunderclap, often accompanied or followed by an extreme headache.
“I didn’t feel sick. No headache. No nothing,” Bret says. “There’s no build-up to it. It was a [sudden] explosion and that was it.”
Subarachnoid hemorrhages can be caused by a number of factors including a blow to the head, a bleeding disorder, high blood pressure or a cerebral aneurysm. Though not confirmed, it's been speculated that Bret's hemorrhage was caused by a head injury after a prop struck him at a 2009 awards show.
Surgery is often performed to remove the accumulation of blood around the brain to relieve the pressure of the hemorrhage.
Nearly one month after surviving the hemorrhage, Bret suffered a transient ischemic attack (TIA), a condition that yields stroke-like symptoms that typically resolve within one hour. However, the TIA led to the discovery of another serious illness.
“I remember bits and pieces of it,” Bret describes. “I spent 11 days in intensive care, and when I started feeling better, I picked up my oldest daughter and the whole left side of my body went numb.
“[That’s when] doctors performed an ultrasound air-bubble test and found a hole in my heart.”
OB/GYN Dr. Lisa Masterson explains Bret’s heart condition using a human heart.
When a baby grows in the womb, he or she has an opening between the left and right upper chambers of the heart to obtain oxygen. The opening typically closes after birth, but, as in Bret’s case, one out of four people’s don’t -- a condition called patent foramen ovale (PFO).
Infants with PFO don’t show symptoms, and most people with the condition never know they have it. In instances that do require treatment, a cardiac catheterization can be performed to seal the hole.
But long before the hemorrhage and PFO, Bret was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of six.
“The hard part was mentally accepting I was diabetic,” he says. “Luckily, I had great parents and a great sense of self-reliance.”
“There’s no other illness that requires as much self-reliance [as diabetes],” Dr. Travis says.
Bret takes three insulin injections a day – one at breakfast, one at dinner and one before bed. While on tour, two breaks are delibarately built into each show so he can go backstage and check his blood-sugar levels.
“The reason Bret has to be so vigilant is that his body doesn’t make insulin,” Dr. Travis says. “Type 1 diabetics make no insulin to get the sugar out of their bloodstream and into their cells.”
“Diabetes is constant. Being a diabetic, there’s no getting out. It’s relentless,” Bret says. “You have to have mental strength and hope.
“It’s a complete balancing act,” he adds.
• Learn more about type 1 diabetes
Bret created a diabetic lifestyle pack called The Bret Michaels Diabetic Kit, through his organization, Life Rocks, to help people manage the disease.
“It’s just a cool design on top of a standard kit that you have for the pumps or the syringes and disposal [material],” he says. “It’s a new, modern version of the old kit that [doctors] give us.
“If you are going to be a diabetic, own it -- just have fun.”
Stevie Nicks’ “Sorrowful Disease”
The queen of rock ‘n’ roll, Stevie Nicks, has a medical problem that's making her feel less than majestic.
“Why is my one eye always watering?” Stevie asks. “I call it ‘the sorrowful disease,’ because people always ask me if I’m sad.
“It’s bugging me to death!” she adds.
Dr. Lisa explains that tearing is a normal bodily function. Every time you blink, you wash your eyes out with tears produced by the lachrymal glands in your upper eyelids.
Excessive tearing may signal underlying health conditions such as dry-eye syndrome, allergies or a blocked tear duct.
Dr. Lisa recommends that Stevie check with her optometrist, and shares tips for relieving symptoms:
• Use artificial tears or over-the-counter eye drops to lubricate dry eyes.
• Increase humidity in your home with a humidifier or by boiling a pot of water.
• Drink plenty of water to maintain healthy tearing.
Look and Feel Like a Star
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