|
|
Macon Chronicle-Herald - Macon, MO
  • Howie Mandel’s “Scary” Health Condition

  • Howie Mandel gets the word out about atrial fibrillation.
    • email print
  • You probably know him as the completely enthusiastic judge on the NBC hit, Americaís Got Talent, which just ended its eighth season. Or as the Emmy Award-winning host of Deal or No Deal, the long-running game show famous for leggy models bearing briefcases. But Howie Mandel is even more than that. Producer of TBSís hidden-camera show Deal With It, and creator/executive producer/voice over artist on the Fox animated childrenís show, Bobbyís World, stand-up comedian who performs as many as 200 concerts a year, and author of his 2009 memoir, Hereís the Deal: Donít Touch Me, Howieís 30-plus year show business career is testament to his versatility and staying power. And nowó25 years after ending his stint as Dr. Wayne Fiscus on TVís hospital-based drama, St. ElsewhereóHowie again finds himself talking about health. But this time heís working without a script, telling his own story of being diagnosed with atrial fibrillation, the most common type of irregular heartbeat, in an effort to draw attention to the silent-but-potentially deadly condition. RELATED: Why Joe Montana Wishes He Were Twenty Years Younger Atrial fibrillation (AFib)óspecifically AFib not caused by a heart valve problemóaffects millions of Americans, and often remains undiagnosed. People with AFib not caused by a heart valve problem have five times the risk of stroke as compared to people without the condition. As part of the Fibs or Facts campaign [link to http://www.fibsorfacts.com/index.aspx] created by Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer, Howie is encouraging people find out more by taking the quiz at Fibsorfacts.com [LINK TO http://www.fibsorfacts.com/afib-quiz.aspx]. For each person who completes the quiz, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer will donate $1 to the National Stroke Foundation (up to $25,000). We talked to Howie about how he discovered the condition, what itís like to live with it, and his secrets to staying healthy. Spry Living: You found out you have AFib during a health screening for a TV show four years ago. Tell us about that. Howie Mandel: When you sign on to do a television show, they get insurance on you to make sure you can be there for the duration of the show. Usually the insurance company will send over a medical person to give you kind of a light little physical. I was getting one in a hotel roomóI didnít even go to a doctorís office. The doctor just came over, put a stethoscope to my chest and said, ďUh oh.Ē You never like hearing ďUh oh.Ē And I go, ďWhat?Ē He said, ďWell, you have atrial fibrillation.Ē Spry Living: How did you react? Howie: You know what, Iím the eternal optimist. I really didnít feel anything much worse than maybe tired and the odd time I felt a little dizzy or out of breath, but nothing major. And I said, ďOK. So what do I have to do?Ē He said, ďYou have to go see a doctor right away.Ē I thought, I almost never go see doctors. I realized that this is something that almost 6 million people in the U.S. have, and if you have it, you are five times more likely to have a stroke than somebody who doesnít have it. And that scared the whatever-I-had-in-me out of me. I quickly went to a specialist and Iím managed and I get taken care of. Spry Living: Whatís the idea behind the Fibs or Facts campaign? Howie: The campaign is just to educate people. Itís kind of like ďDeal or No Deal,Ē but itís FibsorFacts.com where you can take a quiz. Not only do you learn about this very common issue, but for everybody that takes the quiz, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Pfizer donate a dollar toward the National Stroke Association. It is a great cause and you learn about something that is really common but not well-known. This is probably one area where ignorance is not blissóignorance is danger. If I can lend my name and a couple of minutes to get a couple of people to go to this website and learn something and be able to manage an issue they may not know they have, then Iím happy to do it. Spry Living: Has anybody in your family had the condition, or had strokes or anything like that? Howie: No. Iím a really healthy guy. I run 7 miles a day. I didnít know. Nobody in my family has this. Youíve just got to go get checked. I think that all this information is at Fibsorfacts.com. Itís not like you can sit there and find out all this information and self diagnose, but you should just be aware that it exists, that itís common and that itís manageable. When you go to a doctor, he or she can check for it. Spry Living: You said you run seven miles a day. Is that your favorite workout? Howie: No, that is because my wife wonít give me a lift to work and Iíve got to get there in a hurry. I like running. I just do it. Itís a creative time for me. When Iím running, thatís when I get to think. Itís like my time when I get to run. Spry Living: Are you able to keep that up when youíre shooting?† I know you have a totally busy schedule. Howie: I can always find an hour.† Whether that hour is at midnight or 5 in the morning, I can always find an hour. Health is really important to me and thatís why being ignorant of this issue scared the hell out of me. The more I learn about this, the more I found out how common this is which even makes it more scary. Thatís why everybody should go take the quiz.† Did you take the quiz? Spry Living: I did take the quiz. I got a 100. Howie: I didnít get a 100. But I got a nine out of 10.† The second time I took it, I got a nine out of 10, which made me feel bad. By the seventh time, I was getting consistently nine out of 10s. I canít get it right and Iíve tried seven times, but the good news is thatís seven more dollars for the stroke association. Spry Living: Youíre on break from ďAmericaís Got TalentĒ with a new season coming up next summer. How are you planning to keep it fresh? Are there any surprises? Howie: Itís not up to us to keep it fresh. Itís up to each individual person who has a dream and a passionóthey keep it fresh. Thatís what makes it different. Thatís what makes it fun. Itís always fun to watch somebody plucked from obscurity. Their life changes right in front of everybodyís eyes. Itís never tiring. I hope it goes on for years and years to come. Spry Living: Youíre sort of famous for being a germaphobe. How bad is it? Do you not shake fansí hands when they come up to you? Howie: No, I donít. Iíll fist bump. Itís not about being a germaphobeóthatís just a small part of it. Thatís another issue that I have. I have obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD), the mental health issue. I found that by being open with my issues, help has come my way and it kind of educates others. Spry Living: And youíve also spoken about your ADHD, and thatís helped a lot of people. Howie: Between A-fib, ADHD and OCD, Iíve almost completed the entire alphabet. I would like to buy a vowel. Howie Mandel LIVE Brought to you by: Spry Living
        • »  EVENTS CALENDAR