A Wheeze, Bad Knees and a Serious Disease

A review of today’s celebrity news includes three disparate health stories:

A Wheeze: Lindsay Lohan

Today, LiLo spent several hours last night at Mt. Sinai Hospital in NYC. Reportedly Lindsay has been suffering from a lung infection for a few weeks. She believes it is “walking pneumonia.”

According to her father, Michael Lohan, Lindsay has had asthma since she was a child, and her current problem is related to this:

She’s fine, but she had a bad case of asthma as a kid, so she has to take these things seriously. When she was a kid, we almost lost her a couple of times because of the asthma.

She was released from the hospital with a prescription for antibiotics.

For more information about asthma check out our story about CBS News Correspondent Harold Dow.

What is “Walking Pneumonia”?

Walking pneumonia is a common term for a lung infection caused by “atypical bacteria,” which includes Legionella pneumophila, Mycoplasma pneumoniae, and Chlamydophila pneumoniae. Of these, Mycoplasma is the most common.

Mycoplasma pneumonia usually affects people younger than 40 and it may make up 15-50% of all pneumonia cases in adults and even more in school-aged children.

The symptoms below are generally mild and appear over a period of 1 to 3 weeks. They may become more severe in some people.

  • Chest pain
  • Chills
  • Cough, usually dry and not bloody
  • Excessive sweating
  • Fever (may be high)
  • Headache
  • Sore throat

Less common symptoms include ear pain, eye pain or soreness, muscle aches and joint stiffness, skin lesions or rash.

Antibiotics that work against Mycoplasma include macrolides, quinolones, and tetracyclines.

Most people recover completely even without antibiotics, although antibiotics may speed recovery. In untreated adults, cough and weakness can persist for up to a month.

Bad Knees: Darrelle Revis

 New York Jets star cornerback Darrelle Revis has torn the ACL in his left knee.  He was injured in the third quarter of the Jets’ 23-20 overtime win over the Miami Dolphins.
It was not a contact injury, rather Revis’s left knee buckled as he tried to get into position on the grass surface.

An MRI confirmed the ACL tear. However, he will have to wait two to three weeks before having the surgery. Head coach Rex Ryan told  ESPN reporters:

Is it a major blow when you lose a great player like Darrelle Revis? Of course, absolutely it is. But this is a football team.

As the usual recovery time for ACL surgery is six to nine months, Revis will be out for the rest of the season.

What is a torn ACL?

The anterior cruciate ligament, or ACL, is one of four major knee ligaments. The ACL is critical to knee stability.

It is the most commonly injured ligament in the knee. It can be torn when a twisting force is applied to the knee while the foot is firmly planted on the ground or upon landing, or from a direct blow to the knee, usually to the outside of the knee, as may occur during a football tackle.

The symptoms of a torn ACL include:

  • An audible pop or crack at the time of the injury
  • Inability to stand of the leg with a feeling of joint instability
  • Extreme pain and knee tenderness
  • Knee swelling
  • Decreased ability to move the knee

How is a torn ACL surgically repaired?

The usual surgery for an ACL tear is called an ACL reconstruction. Unfortunately it is not usually possible to repair the ligament- it has to be replaced.

The ligament is reconstructed using another tendon or ligament to substitute for the torn ligament. This replacement is caused a graft, and it can come from another part of the patient’s body (called an autograft), or from a cadaver (an allograft).
The most common grafts come from the patella tendon, hamstring tendon or quadriceps tendon.

In a patellar tendon autograft, the middle third of the patellar tendon of the patient, along with a bone plug from the shin and the kneecap is used.  Some surgeons refer to this procedure as the “gold standard” for ACL reconstruction, and it is often recommended for high-demand athletes and patients whose jobs do not require a significant amount of kneeling.

And a Serious Disease: Bonnie Franklin

Actress Bonnie Franklin is best known for role as divorced mom Ann Romano on One Day at a Time, which ran from 1975-84. Mackenzie Phillips and Valerie Bertinelli played her teenage daughters.

Today we learned that she has been diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and is currently undergoing treatment.

Franklin had  a reunion with Bertinelli last year with a role on Valerie’s show Hot in Cleveland. Most recently she played a recurring role on CBS’ The Young & The Restless.

Upon hearing the news, MacKenzie Phillips tweeted:

Sending out love and sweet prayers to my ‘mom.’ The incomparable Bonnie Franklin.

I’ll second those thoughts.

For information about Pancreatic Cancer check out the Celebrity Diagnosis Guide to Pancreatic Cancers.

Michele R. Berman, M.D. was Clinical Director of The Pediatric Center, a private practice on Capitol Hill in Washington, D.C. from 1988-2000, and was named Outstanding Washington Physician by Washingtonian Magazine in 1999. She was a medical internet pioneer having established one of the first medical practice websites in 1997. Dr. Berman also authored a monthly column for Washington Parent Magazine.

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