When someone famous goes public with a health concern, people come to WebMD looking for details on their disease.
It's not just that enquiring minds want to know about stars' lives. It's also a window on a condition they want to know more about.
No doubt about it: Our society is celebrity-obsessed. But sometimes, the health lessons that stem from them sharing their experiences could save your own life.
Here are the top celebrity health topics of 2010:
1. Michael Douglas' Throat Cancer
In September, actor Michael Douglas announced that he has throat cancer -- what doctors call oropharyngeal cancer. As Douglas pursued treatment, WebMD talked to experts about what symptoms are typical for oropharyngeal cancer, how the disease is treated, and what the prospects are for patients.
2. Phil Mickelson's Psoriatic Arthritis
Late this summer, just before the U.S. Open, pro golfer Phil Mickelson said that he is being treated for psoriatic arthritis. That's an autoimmune disease that affects the joints and tendons, and may also include psoriasis, an inflammatory skin disease. WebMD covered the symptoms, treatment, and possible effects on Mickelson's golf game.
3. Bill Clinton's Weight Loss and Heart Surgery
Former President Bill Clinton had surgery in February to get two stents placed in a coronary artery. Later, he whittled his weight in time to walk daughter Chelsea down the aisle when she married Marc Mezvinsky this summer. With his heart history, Clinton had more than vanity at stake.
- Bill Clinton Has Coronary Artery Procedure
- Shedding Presidential Pounds for Chelsea Clinton's Wedding
4. Bret Michaels
Rocker Bret Michaels had more than his share of health scares this year, including bleeding in his brain (a subarachnoid hemorrhage), followed by low blood sodium levels (hyponatremia). WebMD's medical editors kept readers up to date on Michaels' condition.
- Bret Michaels' Hyponatremia: What Does This Mean for Him?
- Bret Michaels' Condition: How Serious Is It?
5. Glenn Beck's Macular Dystrophy
In July, Fox News television personality Glenn Beck disclosed that he has macular dystrophy, an eye disorder that could eventually take his sight. WebMD explained the condition, how genetics are involved, and shared links for further details on this rare disease.