In an Instagram post on Friday, the beloved TV personality revealed his recent absence from NBC’s Today show. Roker explained that he was in the hospital due to blood clots in his leg and lungs.
“So many of you have been thoughtfully asking where I’ve been. Last week I was admitted to the hospital with a blood clot in my leg which sent some clots into my lungs,” the 68-year-old wrote.
“After some medical whack-a-mole, I am so fortunate to be getting terrific medical care and on the way to recovery. Thanks for all the well wishes and prayers and hope to see you soon,” he continued.
Roker’s wife, Deborah Roberts, wrote in the comments that she’s “grateful” for “the top-notch medical care and prayer warriors from every corner.” The ABC News correspondent continued, “We love you dearly, sweet Al, and can’t wait to get you home.”
Although Roker spent several days in the hospital, his fellow Today show anchors reported that “he’s in good spirits.”
“We need him back. He inspires me every day. When I wake up, I see him on his treadmill. He’s walking here to work,” Carson Daly said about Roker, who is a vocal health advocate.
“It’s hard to slow down Al, but he’s on the mend and on the way to recovery,” Savannah Guthrie added.
Roker used his platform to educate about health, starting with his medical challenges. In 2020, he shared his journey to treat and successfully undergo surgery for prostate cancer. According to Zero Cancer, “Black men are 1.7 times more likely to be diagnosed with—and 2.1 times more likely to die from—prostate cancer than white men.”
Blood clots are a silent killer more common after COVID
Blood clots are another silent but potentially deadly condition. Smoking cigarettes, surgery, some forms of hormonal birth control, and leg and arm injuries can increase the risk of developing deep vein thrombosis, or blood clots. One of the biggest contributing factors is a history of COVID, even if the infection was mild or asymptomatic.
Healthline reports that the millions of people who recovered from COVID face a “fivefold increased risk of deep vein thrombosis (blood clot in deep veins, usually in the legs), a doubling of bleeding risk, and a 33-fold increase in the risk of pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), with the highest risk in patients with pre-existing conditions.”
The alarmingly elevated risks increased for up more than three months after infection. Roker recovered from a COVID infection with “mild symptoms” in late September of this year. Even young, healthy people who recovered from the mildest symptoms are more likely to experience this post-infection complication.
Hailey Bieber was hospitalized in March with brain issues from a blood clot two months after she and Justin Bieber had COVID. Serena Williams had a pulmonary embolism in 2011. The day she gave birth to Olympia Ohanian in 2017, Serena recognized the signs of a blood clot again. Although the famous athlete was already in the hospital, she reportedly had to demand the proper tests to confirm another pulmonary embolism.
Everyone should be vigilant about warning signs like trouble breathing, heaviness or tightness in the chest, swelling, skin discoloration, numbness, and stroke-like symptoms. Fast medical intervention can treat or prevent clots from traveling to the heart, lungs, or brain.
Get well soon, Al Roker!