When Celebs Make Health News

August 4, 2011 at 10:38 am , by

AMY WINEHOUSEWhen a celebrity talks about a diagnosis, it’s guaranteed to make headlines. If you’re like me, you’re one of those people whose defenses are useless against celebrity coverage. Whether it’s about a cheating spouse or new baby pictures, I can’t help but read about it when I’m scanning the news.

Maybe I’d be better off reading something more “important,” but it’s not such a bad thing when the article is about a celeb’s health. Besides giving you a look into their lives, this kind of news also piques our interest in often under-the-radar health issues. This month’s batch of top health searches from Yahoo! proves that when famous people get sick, it makes people think about their own health. These three celebrity-related health searches were among the top 25.

21. Borderline Personality Disorder
? Ever heard of this one? I hadn’t. Characterized by unstable and turbulent emotions, BPD started spiking on Yahoo! after Miami Dolphins receiver Brandon Marshall revealed his diagnosis. People with BPD have trouble maintaining relationships, suffer from bouts of anger and may act dangerously impulsive. Even though it was a male celeb who brought it to everyone’s attention, BPD is actually more common in women.

12. Psoriasis
Searches this month spiked 286 percent for psoriasis after Kim Kardashian was diagnosed with the skin condition. But people weren’t just looking for photos or information about Kardashian—terms like “psoriasis treatment” and “psoriasis symptoms” also spiked in response to the news. It’s good that it’s getting attention because psoriasis may be more than just a skin problem. It’s also a risk factor for metabolic syndrome, which is characterized by heart disease, obesity and high blood pressure, according to a recent study. See our colleague Nykia’s recent blog about psoriasis and what it mean’s for Kim Kardashian’s wedding day.

2.  Addiction Treatment
Amy Winehouse’s tragic death may have had something to do with this one coming in at No. 2 on the list. We still don’t know the cause of the crooner’s death—now speculation is centered on alcohol withdrawal—but her struggle with addiction was about as well known as her music. Yahoo! search experts saw a 57 percent increase for “addiction” on the day of her death, and searches for “addiction treatment” were sky high all month long. Maybe people took her death as a warning sign?

Graham Whitby-Allstar/Globe Photos. Inc. © 2007

What 7.5 Million of You Have in Common with Kim Kardashian

August 1, 2011 at 11:34 am , by


Whether we’d openly admit it or not, many of us watched last week’s episode of Keeping up with the Karadashians, and learned—along with Kim—that she has psoriasis. Her seemingly earth-shattering diagnosis is shared by as many as 7.5 million Americans. With KK’s nuptials fast approaching (August 20th to be exact)—we asked Dr. Marta I. Rendon, founder and medical director of the Rendon Center for Dermatology and Aesthetic Medicine in Boca Raton, FL, to clear up some questions about psoriasis—and to share some insight on what Kim can do if a flareup afflicts her on the big day.

LHJ: What is psoriasis?
Dr. Rendon: Psoriasis is a disease of the immune system and is NOT infectious. It is characterized by red scaly plaques—mostly on the elbows, knees and scalp, but any area could be affected.

LHJ: Is there a way to tell if you’re prone to psoriasis, or if you have the psoriasis “gene”?
Dr. Rendon: Psoriasis is a hereditary condition. To determine if you have the genetic predisposition, you would need a very specialized blood test that’s not done routinely.

LHJ: What are the symptoms and warning signs of this condition?
Dr. Rendon: Lesions appear on the skin and a dermatologist can diagnose the disease.
Symptoms are dry, scaly areas on arms or legs. It can affect any part of the body including face and scalp. Some people have severe itching. OTC hydrocortisone creams can provide minimal relief at first.  The next step is to see your dermatologist.

LHJ: Are there any preventative measures that help prevent flare-ups?
Dr. Rendon: There are several exacerbating factors such as alcohol consumption, cigarette smoking, sun tanning and stress, so try to avoid any of these things as much as possible. Also, don’t scratch, rub, or pick at the lesions. It helps to apply an ointment after showering.
Try Cetaphil, Cerave, Aveeno, even Vaseline. Apply to very rough areas such as elbows and knees. Ointments are more occlusive than lotions or creams and are usually more potent. Cold compresses can help, too. Stress-prevention measures such as exercise can help stabilize the disease.

LHJ: What can Kim Kardashian (or anyone with a really crazy-busy life)  do to control her flare-ups?
Dr. Rendon: Topical prescription creams are available. There are also laser and phototherapy treatments that can accelerate healing.

LHJ: What’s the best way to quickly control or cover up psoriasis?
Dr. Rendon: I recommend applying an ointment after showering, cold compresses, and a mineral-based makeup to conceal any patches.

LHJ: Will her red patches ever completely go away?
Dr. Rendon: Absolutely!! Yes, with a good treatment plan determined by a dermatologist.