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What is Graves’ disease? Wendy Williams opens up about her condition

Fans of the “Wendy Williams Show” will have to watch re-runs for nearly a month, because the media maven is taking a three-week hiatus to treat her Graves’ disease

>> Read more trending news 

She made the announcement on air Wednesday, revealing that her doctor is requiring her to take a break from work to “get her levels and medication in sync,” a show representative told People

>> Related: Wendy Williams announces 3-week hiatus due to Graves' disease

“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” the spokesperson said in the statement. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years, in addition to hyperthyroidism...A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

Learning about the illness for the first time? Here’s what you should know. 

What is Graves’ disease?

It’s an immune system disorder that is caused by the overproduction of the thyroid hormones, according to the Mayo Clinic. In healthy adults, the thyroid function is regulated by a hormone released by the pituitary gland, which is located at the base of the brain. For those with Graves’ disease, a thyrotropin receptor antibody takes on this role, overriding the work of the pituitary gland and causing overproduction of the thyroid hormones. 

What are the symptoms?

Common signs include anxiety, irritability, tremor of the hands, weight loss, heat sensitivity, thyroid gland enlargement and rapid heartbeat. 

Patients also experience Graves’ ophthalmopathy, where inflammation affects the muscles and tissues around eyes. The condition can cause bulging eyes, light sensitivity, double vision or even vision loss. 

Some also have Graves’ dermopathy, which is the reddening and thickening of the skin, particularly on the shins and tops of the feet. 

>> Related: Wendy Williams cancels talk show for the week due to flu 

How is it diagnosed?

Doctors generally conduct a physical exam to check the size of the thyroid. They also order blood samples to determine the levels of the thyroid-stimulating hormone, which is usually lower for those with Graves’.

Physicians also administer ultrasounds and imaging tests to view images of the thryroid, eyes, and iodine uptake patterns. Iodine is needed to produce thyroid hormones.

How is it treated?

Some have radioactive iodine therapy, where patients take radioactive iodine by mouth. The iodine seeps into the thyroid cells and the radioactivity gradually destoys the overactive ones. 

Patients often are prescribed anti-thyroid medications, which can limit the thyroid’s ability to produce hormones. Beta blockers are also available. While they don’t stop the production of thyroid hormones, they do block some of the Graves’ disease symptoms. 

Who is affected?

It affects 1 in 200 people, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine. Women are more likely to be diagnosed, and people younger than age 40 generally develop it. 

>> Related: Watch: Wendy Williams faints on live TV

Rappers Missy Elliott and Rapsody as well as former president George H. W. Bush also have Graves’ disease. 

Wendy Williams announces 3-week hiatus due to Graves’ disease

Wendy Williams is taking three weeks off from her talk show.

The former radio personality turned daytime TV show host was candid with her live audience Wednesday as she made the announcement. The 53-year-old has Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism, both of which she has spoken about in the past. 

>> Read more trending news 

“Wendy is a true champion and has never missed a day of work. But her health and well-being must be put before all else,” a show representative told People. “Wendy has been openly dealing with her Graves’ disease for many years, in addition to hyperthyroidism. Yesterday, Wendy’s doctor prescribed a necessary three weeks of rest to get her levels and medication in sync. The show will be in repeats during this unplanned hiatus. A live show was produced today so that Wendy could speak directly to her fans and explain her condition.”

“My doctor has prescribed -- are you ready? As of today, three weeks of vacation,” she said.

Williams then described the symptoms that come with Graves’ disease and hyperthyroidism.

“Along with hyperthyroid and Graves’ disease, it promotes nervousness,” Williams said. “No, I’m not nervous. Anxiety, please. I’m over 30 years in this game.”

Related: Watch: Wendy Williams faints on live TV

The wife and mother to a teenage son did admit she has some symptoms, including a rapid heartbeat.

“Now, I can cop to irritability, but I’m just thinking it’s me micromanaging,” she said. 

Ever the workhorse, Williams said she would be back in less than three weeks.

“I’ll be back in two (weeks). I’m not an heiress. Who is going to pay my bills? Are you serious? I’m just saying, I come from working class,” she said.

Williams said she blamed her symptoms on the stresses of being a working wife and mother, encouraging women to put their health first.

“What I want to say to women, more than men, is stop putting everyone first because if we’re not good, they’re not good,” she said. 

Williams took three days off last week after she said she was “feeling flu-ish.” It was the first time she was out sick from the show since it started in 2009. In October, Williams fainted on-air while introducing a segment.

Related: Wendy Williams addresses fainting on live Halloween show

“That was not a stunt,” Williams said at the end of that episode. “I overheated in my costume, and I did pass out. But you know what? I’m a champ and I’m back.”

CNN reported that there will not be a fill-in host for the show. Repeat episodes will air during the hiatus.

Watch Williams’ message to viewers below.

Florida beach named nation's best in TripAdvisor Travelers' Choice awards

A Florida beach has been named the nation's best in TripAdvisor's annual Travelers' Choice awards.

>> See the full rankings here

The travel website announced Tuesday that Clearwater Beach was the best in the U.S. in 2018, climbing from No. 4 in 2017. The beach also topped the national list in 2016. 

>> Read more trending news 

Meanwhile, Grace Bay in Providenciales, Turks and Caicos, took the award for the best beach worldwide.

>> Click here or scroll down to see which other beaches made the lists

Michelle Obama praises 'Black Panther' on Twitter: 'I loved this movie'

Former first lady Michelle Obama tweeted a shoutout Monday to the new Marvel superhero film, “Black Panther.”

>> See the tweet here

“Congrats to the entire #blackpanther team!” she tweeted. “Because of you, young people will finally see superheroes that look like them on the big screen. I loved this movie and I know it will inspire people of all backgrounds to dig deep and find the courage to be heroes of their own stories.”

>> ‘Black Panther’ raking in the dough; here’s the records the blockbuster has smashed

The film has earned rave reviews from fans and critics alike, receiving a 97 percent "fresh" rating from Rotten Tomatoes, a review aggregate site.

>> On Rare.us: After the Obamas’ official portraits were unveiled, people had a lot to say

The movie grossed $201 million at the box office over the weekend, according to The Washington Post.

>> Read more trending news 

Other high-profile Democrats to send shoutouts to the film include Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) and Rep. Maxine Waters (D-Calif.), who both posted tweets about the movie.

>> On Rare.us: Barack Obama issues statement on Florida school shooting: 'We are not powerless'

“Outside City of Refuge with @HollywoodLadyj from the film 'Black Panther'! Congratulations Janeshia!” Waters posted along with a picture of herself and the film’s stuntwoman, Janeshia Adams-Ginyard.

>> See the tweet here

Warren posted a picture of her and her family attending the film, captioning it, “#BlackPanther Rocks!”

>> See the tweet here

Queen Elizabeth surrounded by fashion royalty at her first London runway show

This year’s London Fashion Week ended with the biggest name in fashion meeting the biggest name in London.

>> Read more trending news 

Queen Elizabeth II made quite the splash Tuesday as she sat next to Vogue’s infamous editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in the queen’s historic appearance at a fashion show.

Her Majesty came dressed to impress in a pastel blue coat and jacket designed by Angela Kelly — her personal assistant and designer — and accessorizing with crisp black gloves, pearl earrings and a matching broach.

The Queen, 91, made the shocking appearance — her first-ever at the event in 65 years on the throne — to bestow the inaugural Queen Elizabeth II Award for British Design upon designer Richard Quinn. In the speech she gave while presenting the award to the designer who’s runway show she’d come to watch, she described the award as “a tribute to the industry and my legacy and all those who have contributed to British fashion.”

>> Related: Internet shows no mercy when Duchess Catherine stepped out wearing this over the weekend

The British Fashion Council helped choose Quinn, who started his own label only in 2016, for the prize — also designed by Angela Kelly. The show was full of bright and bold looks that obviously drew the eye of the fashion elite, regardless of their eccentricity.

Spry as ever even at 91, she took a tour around several showrooms at the event before addressing the audience about Britain’s fashion history.

“From the tweed of the Hebrides to Nottingham lace, and of course Carnaby Street, our fashion industry has been renowned for outstanding craftsmanship for many years, and continues to produce world-class textiles and cutting edge, practical designs,” she said.

Since this was the queen’s first time at London Fashion Week, social media swooned at her appearance.

>> Related: Prince William rides a motorcycle and melts a million hearts

Considering this is the first year the award is being presented, it stands to reason that the Queen may make another return next year. Only time will tell!

The Queen’s fashionable showing comes just days after her Duchess Catherine’s fashion choices were criticized by the public. Attendees of the BAFTA awards — equivalent to the Oscars — were encouraged to wear all black in support of the #MeToo and #TimesUp initiatives at this year’s BAFTAs, but the pregnant royal’s choice of a green cap-sleeved gown rubbed people the wrong way.

The Sun reports that people on the red carpet were just as disgruntled about the Duchess’s fashion statement as social media users.

“She shouldn’t have bothered turning up if she couldn’t wear black,” one guest said, according to the paper.

Another reportedly added, “How is supporting equality for women political?”

>> Related: Photos: Kate Middleton wears dark green, not black at BAFTAs

Being a member of the royal family, Catherine is supposed to stay away from making any public political statements, which may have been one reason she opted for another color.

These are the records 'Black Panther' has smashed so far

“Black Panther” has taken theaters by storm, breaking box office goals. 

Over the Presidents Day weekend, the Marvel flick made a whopping $242 million, much more than the $150 million predicted

>> Read more trending news 

That wasn’t the only success the film saw. It also made history for Marvel, on social media and beyond.

Here’s a list of records the flick has broken. 

Biggest February opening weekend

“Deadpool” previously held the record, raking in $132 million over a Friday to Sunday weekend, according to The Numbers, a site that keeps data on films. “Black Panther” scored a $202-million weekend for its Friday-Sunday opening.

>> Related: ‘Black Panther’: Five things to know about the movie’s ties to metro Atlanta

Biggest long holiday opening weekend

“Black Panther” brought in $242 million over the four-day weekend. That’s ahead of “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” which made $200 million during it’s Wednesday to Sunday debut, the Numbers said. It also surpasses “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and “Spider-Man 2,” which both had $180 million six-day Independence Day weekend premieres.

Biggest domestic opening for a black director

This is Ryan Coogler’s third film, behind “Creed” and “Fruitvale Station.” He’s inching closer to F. Gary Gray top selling film “Fate of the Furious,” which earned more than $1 billion worldwideThe Numbers recorded. 

“Black Panther” is also the biggest global debut for a predominantly black cast. “Straight Outta Compton” previously held the record with $66.3 million, according to BuzzFeed.

>> Related: Atlanta airport nonstop flights to Wakanda from Black Panther

5th biggest Friday to Sunday opening weekend of all time

Here’s a quick overview of the top five, according to The Numbers:

  1. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” - $284 million 
  2. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” - $220 million
  3. “Jurassic World” - $208 million
  4. “The Avengers” - $207 million
  5. “Black Panther” - $202 million

Most tweeted about film in 2018

It’s garnered more than five million tweets, according to Variety, and inspired several hashtags, including #BlackPantherChallenge#WhatBlackPantherMeansToMe and #WakandaForever. And if you type “#BlackPanther” a Black Panther mask appears. “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” and “Maze Runner: The Death Cure” took second and third place. 

Atlanta airport offers nonstop flights to Kingdom of Wakanda

“Black Panther” fans rejoice: The world’s busiest airport is officially offering nonstop flights to the fictional Kingdom of Wakanda. Sort of.

>> Read more trending news 

Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport shared a photo of a terminal showing a 7:30 p.m. departure time to the hidden city on Twitter Monday, following a holiday weekend that brought in $235 million for the film.

The person behind the airport’s Twitter account had answers to all the essential questions.

According to the state Department of Economic Development, 3,100 people working in Georgia’s booming film industry were employed during the shoot, which started in August 2016 and wrapped up in November 2017.

“We’re incredibly proud that Atlanta has such an important role in the film industry,” Reese McCranie, Hartsfield-Jackson’s director of policy and communications, told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. McCranie said the airport’s social media team, which he oversees, came up with the idea during a Monday meeting.

Related: ‘Black Panther’ enjoys record weekend at box office

Since its posting, the playful image shared on the airport’s official Instagram and Twitter accounts has reached hundreds of thousands of people.

“We love keeping our customers engaged,” McCraine said. “And it’s important for us to be part of the cultural conversation.”

Unfortunately, the current flight departing from Gate T3 isn’t headed to the Kingdom of Wakanda. But, McCraine said, “we are certainly looking to explore direct service connection. In the meantime, we hope everyone gets to enjoy the movie.”

As for Wakanda, the beauty and wonder of the fictional country was inspired by Africa itself. Before shooting the film, director Ryan Coogler explored the mountainscape of the tiny nation of Lesotho.

Related: 5 things to know about ‘Black Panther’ director Ryan Coogler

According to The Washington Post, Wakanda is actually farther north, along the shores of Lake Victoria. “The country is rendered as a Pan-African pastiche; viewers of Black Panther can point to Ghanaian fabrics and Zulu headdresses, Ethiopian tribal body markings and a prominent Bantu tongue,” the Post reported.

The fictional country was also inspired by several African landmarks, including South Africa’s Three Rondavels (or Three Sisters) and the canyon Orbi Gorge.

JAY-Z leaves $11,000 tip on $80,000 bar tab for friend’s birthday celebration

JAY-Z reportedly spent big at a New York bar over the weekend.

According to the New York Post’s Page Six, the rapper and father of three spent a combined $110,000 at three locations in the city while celebrating Roc Nation Sports president Juan “OG” Perez, who is also a close friend of Hov.

>> Read more trending news 

Although his wife, Beyonce, daughter, Blue and in-laws, Tina Knowles Lawson and Richard Lawson, were at the NBA All-Star Game, Jay was reportedly at Zuma, a high-end Japanese restaurant, for dinner. He and his friends, other Roc Nation executives, spent about $13,000, according to Page Six.

The tabloid also reported that the group later went to Manhattan’s Made in Mexico Mexican restaurant and spent $9,000 on drinks.

The last stop was Playroom nightclub, where Page Six reported Jay was seen handing out bottles of his own Ace of Spades Champagne to tables. His group paid full price for 40 bottles of the drink.

People reported that a server posted a photo of the tab at Playroom, showing the bottles totaled more than $80,000. The group left an $11,100 tip.

Related video: Jay-Z and Beyonce Through The Years

Toni Braxton confirms engagement to Birdman

After months of speculation, Toni Braxton has confirmed she is engaged to rapper Birdman.

In a trailer for the singer’s upcoming season of “Braxton Family Values,” Braxton tells her sisters, “I have an announcement to make: I’m engaged!”

>> Read more trending news 

The reality TV show looks at Braxton’s life with her sisters, Trina, Towanda, Tamar and their mother, Evelyn.

E! News reported that Birdman and Braxton met in 2002 and were reported as an item in May 2016. They made their public debut as a couple in June of that year at the BET Awards.

On Wednesday, Birdman, born Bryan Williams, told Wendy Williams he was not married to Braxton "yet."

“That's my girl, my friend, my family,” Birdman told Williams. “That’s my love, my soldier, my life… she's my life. I love her to death.”

This is the second marriage for Braxton, who was married to Keri Lewis from 2001-2013. She has two sons from that marriage: Denim Cole Braxton-Lewis, 16, and Diezel Ky Braxton-Lewis, 14. Birdman has two adult children, Bryan Williams Jr. and Bria Williams, from a previous relationship.

Courtney Love, Frances Bean Cobain remember Kurt Cobain on his 51st birthday

Courtney Love is remembering Kurt Cobain on what would have been his 51st birthday.

People reported that the 53-year-old singer posted a photo of herself with the late Nirvana frontman on Instagram Tuesday.

>> Read more trending news 

“Happy birthday baby,” she captioned the post. “God I miss you.”

Cobain died of suicide on April 5, 1994, at the age of 27. He had been struggling with depression and drugs. He was married to Love from 1992 until his death.

Spin reported that Cobain and Love’s 25-year-old daughter, Frances Bean Cobain, shared an Instagram post remembering the day as well. She was 1-year-old when her father died.

“I hope they don’t have the internet wherever you are. I feel like that would be counterproductive,” Cobain wrote alongside the post. “Regardless, Happy Birthday to an angel.”

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