People with an Illness Have Strong Opinions on Celebrities Who Share the Same Health Condition

What do President Jimmy Carter and Kim Kardashian have in common? Well, probably nothing besides the fact that people’s perspectives on their health conditions were both examined in a recent study.

primary care, family medicine, internal medicine, gastroenterology, psychiatry, neurology, rheumatology, hospital medicine, oncology, OBGYN, women’s health, men’s health, dermatology, bipolar disorder, psoriasis, oral cancer, melanoma, celiac disease, celebrities

What do President Jimmy Carter and Kim Kardashian have in common? Well, probably nothing besides the fact that people’s perspectives on their health conditions were both examined in a recent study.

Sometimes people fail to remember that celebrities are just regular people who can develop diseases too. Treato, which bills itself as “the single largest source of online consumer insights on healthcare,” assessed how patients who suffer from a disease or illness feel about celebrities who also have that same health condition. While some respondents have positive feelings about the celebrities , others don’t think that ‘their’ celebrity is doing enough as a public figure to promote awareness. The analysis examined more than 700 online discussions about celebrities and their health conditions.

Click through to see how patients ranked Michael Douglas, Elisabeth Hasselbeck, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Kim Kardashian, and President Jimmy Carter, from least to most positive.

5. Kim Kardashian & Psoriasis

How she was viewed: “No one with psoriasis was positively discussing Kim Kardashian online,” the report said, making her the most unfavorably viewed celebrity on the list. Patients expressed their annoyance with the fact that she doesn’t use her platform to raise awareness of the condition. They also said that the episode of Keeping Up with the Kardashians in which she is diagnosed was actually harmful and increased the stigma of psoriasis.

In 2011, Kardashian tweeted a picture of her psoriasis; her choice of words for the caption wasn’t perceived well by the survey respondents.

Image: kimkardashian Instagram

@KimKardashian - It's not "gross" Kim. Thanks for sharing. Help us increase P research!

— Psoriasis Cure Now (@psoriasiscure) August 15, 2011

4. Elisabeth Hasselbeck & Celiac Disease

How she was viewed: Despite the fact that she is the author of Deliciously G-Free: Food So Flavorful They’ll Never Believe It’s Gluten Free, and other books, many people with celiac disease did not see Hasselbeck as an ambassador. Also, people with a longer history of the condition criticized Hasselbeck’s (former co-host of The View) books as being inaccurate in their portrayal of celiac disease.

Image: elisabethhasselbeck Instagram

3. President Jimmy Carter & Melanoma

How he was viewed: Regardless of their political views, most survey respondents wished President Carter well and felt that he was raising awareness for melanoma. Because of his social standing and humanitarian work, patients said that he was seen as a cancer advocate right off the bat. About 54% of the online conversations talked about treatment (more than any other celebrity) and many tied him with the drug Keytruda.

Image: thecartercenter Instagram

2. Michael Douglas & Oral Cancer

How he was viewed: Douglas was the second most positively discussed celebrity when it came to their health condition. People said that he brought the most awareness to oral cancer. Notably, many of the online conversations involved people who did not have cancer or even know that the human papillomavirus (HPV) can cause cancer. Although Douglas said that his tongue cancer was a result of smoking, his diagnosis brought awareness to HPV outcomes as well.

Image: catherinezetajones Instagram

1. Catherine Zeta-Jones & Bipolar Disorder

How she was viewed: Overall, people had the most favorable things to say about Zeta-Jones (who is married to Michael Douglas) — with 69% of conversations being positive. She was referred to as a role model, inspiration, and paragon by people with bipolar disorder, as well as classy, focused, and “well-behaved.”

Image: catherinezetajones Instagram

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