List of celebrities with pacemakers

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Celebrities who carry pacemakers or ICDs implanted for irregular heart beat

Celebrities who carry pacemakers or ICDs implanted for irregular heart beat

Should former prime minister Nawaz Sharif agree to have an Implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) or a backup pacemaker implanted to regulate his heartbeat, as reportedly recommended by doctors and subsequently tweeted by his daughter Maryam Nawaz, he will enter the exclusive club of illustrious global personalities who have either benefited from these devices in the past or are still benefitting from them to “keep their hearts in check.”

What are Pacemakers and ICDs?

People having any disorder of heart rate or rhythm need a cardiac pacemaker or an implantable Cardioverter defibrillator implanted in their chests or abdomens.

When the heart beats too quickly, too slowly, or with an irregular pattern, the phenomenon is commonly called Arrhythmia.

According to the “American National Library of Medicine,” which is operated by the United States Federal government with a budget of over $341 million, a Pacemaker helps control abnormal heart rhythms. It uses electrical pulses to prompt the heart to beat at a normal rate. It can speed up a slow heart rhythm, control a fast heart rhythm, and coordinate the chambers of the heart.

The Maryland-based “American National Library of Medicine,” founded in 1836, further states that an ICD, on the other hand, monitors heart rhythms. If it senses dangerous rhythms, it delivers shocks. This treatment is called “Defibrillation.”

An ICD can thus help control life-threatening Arrhythmias, especially those that can cause Sudden Cardiac Arrest or CSA.

Most new ICDs can act as both a Pacemaker and a defibrillator. Many ICDs also record the heart’s electrical patterns when there is an abnormal heartbeat. This can help the doctor plan future treatment.

Getting a pacemaker or ICD requires a minor surgery. Patients usually need to stay in the hospital for a day or two, so that their respective doctor can make sure that the device was working well.

The patients probably get back to their normal activities within a few days.

Here follows a brief list of eminent international leaders and other celebrities who have either had Pacemakers implanted in bodies or have been benefitting from the ICDs:

Former Italian Prime Minister and media tycoon, Silvio Berlusconi, former President of Israel, Reuven Rivlin, former American President, Gerald Ford, former Canadian Governor General, Adrienne Clarkson, former Crown Prince of Nepal, Paras Bir Bikram Shah Dev, leader of the Catholic Church, Pope Benedict XVI, former US Vice-President, Dick Cheney ( he had an implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator implanted in 2001), James Major, son of former British Prime Minister John Major, great female philanthropist, Mother Teresa, the star of James Bond movies from 1973 to 1985, Roger Moore (he had a pacemaker implanted on May 10, 2003), former Japanese Prime Minister, Keizo Obuchi, great American actor, producer and director, Kirk Douglas, former Manchester United soccer manager, Sir Alex Ferguson, renowned British singer, Sir Elton John, and American Senators Dianne Feinstein and Bob Dole etc.

By the way, the Pacemaker inventor, Dr. John Hopps (1919-1998), was fitted with one of these devices to regulate his heartbeat—some 27 years after having invented the first pacemaker in 1950.

However, Dr.Hopps died just before his invention was voted the Canadian engineering invention of the century. He is revered in Canada as the father of biomedical engineering. According to the 95-year old American Heart Association, an implantable Cardioverter-Defibrillator (ICD) is a device implantable inside the body, able to perform cardio version, defibrillation, and (in modern versions) pacing of the heart.

The American Heart Association, which has invested more than $4.1 billion in research since its inception in 1924, states that an ICD is a battery-powered device placed under the skin that keeps track of your heart rate.

Its website adds: “Thin wires connect the ICD to your heart. If an abnormal heart rhythm is detected the device will deliver an electric shock to restore a normal heartbeat if your heart is beating chaotically and much too fast.”

Research conducted by the American Heart Association further reveals that several types of devices and machinery may interfere with the Pacemakers and ICDs, as the electromagnetic waves generated by such devices can prevent these devices from functioning properly

These gadgets include newer models of certain cell phones because the wireless transmissions from their antennae might make ICDs and pacemakers less reliable. The wireless industry is investigating that possibility though.

The American Heart Association, assisted in its work of fighting heart diseases and strokes by more than 33 million volunteers and supporters as well as our more than 3,400 employees, recommends that cell phones should be kept at least six inches away from the ICD or pacemaker by using it on the ear opposite ear where your device has been implanted.

It strictly asks heart patients using these devices to avoid keeping their cell phones in their front chest pockets.

Similarly, walkie-talkies (operating on three watts or less) should be kept at least six inches away from the ICD or pacemaker implantation site.

MP3 players/headphones and IPods etc also pose a risk to pacemakers.

Most MP3 headphones contain a magnetic material that can interfere with ICDs and pacemakers.

The website of the American Heart Association further states:

Don’t allow someone wearing headphones to rest his or her head on your chest.

Don’t place headphones in your breast pocket.

Don’t drape headphones around your neck so that they hang on your chest.

Certain Citizen’s Band (CB) Radios, operating on 3 to15 watts, should be kept at least 12 inches from the ICD.

CB Radios operating on 15-30 watts should be kept at least two feet from the device.

If one is having an ICD or pacemaker, he or she should avoid close or prolonged contact with magnets or their magnetic fields.

Moreover, Metal detectors for security and Anti-theft systems (also called electronic article surveillance or EAS) may also interfere with the working of these devices under review.

5 famous people to have had a pacemaker fitted

Albert ClamarkFollow Aug 18, 2015 · 3 min read

There are a variety of reasons that a person would need a pacemaker. One of the main reasons is when they have an arrhythmia. This is when the heart’s rhythm is abnormal. There are a few reasons that this can occur.

• Heart muscle damage as a result of a heart attack
• Medications that can affect your heart rate
• Genetic conditions
• Normal aging of the heart

What is a Pacemaker?

A pacemaker is a device the size of a half dollar. It is implanted under the skin, near the heart, and is designed to control your heartbeat. The procedure to implant a pacemaker is considered a minor surgery. A pacemaker can improve your quality of life, however, certain precautions would need to be taken. Having a pacemaker implanted is referred to as “cardiac resynchronization therapy.” There are over 3 million people in the world with pacemakers, and 600,000 pacemakers are implanted each year.

Famous People With Pacemakers

Heart conditions do not discriminate. While there are millions of everyday people with heart problems, there are also famous people who have pacemakers as well. The following list names 5 famous people to have had a pacemaker fitted.

Sir Elton John: In 1999, Sir Elton was on a jet taking him to sing at the wedding of David Beckham and Posh Spicee in Dublin, he collapsed. After seeing a doctor, tests revealed that he was suffering from an irregular heartbeat. After the emergency was over, Sir Elton was on the tennis court, when his partner came out and informed him that doctors did not think he should be playing tennis or any other sport. After hearing this news, he flew to London from the South of France to have a pacemaker fitted. The operation took place at a hospital in St. John’s Wood, London, and took only about an hour and a half, and he was back in France within 36 hours. Today, Sir Elton says his pacemaker does not affect him at all. The only change that he has needed to make, is to carry an ID card when traveling, so that airport security will understand why he is setting off the metal detectors.

Ted Williams: Former Boston Red Sox phenomenon, Ted Williams had a pacemaker implanted in November of 2000. Williams was suffering from congestive heart failure, due to a rapid heartbeat. He was hospitalised for several weeks before having a single chamber pacemaker implanted, designed to slow his heart down to the desired level.

Krusty the Clown: Krusty may only be a fictional character on the Simpsons, however, he is very well known, and he has a pacemaker. It is not wonder that Krusty has heart problems, he smokes, he drinks, and lives a very unhealthy lifestyle.

Stan Lee: The co-creator of X-Men, the Avengers, and Spider Man had a pacemaker implanted when he was 89 years old. When asked about his pacemaker, he joked saying that he had the electronic pacemaker implanted so that he could be more like is fellow Avenger, Tony Stark. He said that it would allow him to lead for another 90 years.

Mark Farner: Classic rocker, Mark Farner, of the classic rock group Grand Funk Railroad, has a pacemaker. After he had the pacemaker implanted, his wife stated that he had the wind knocked out of his sails only temporarily. She also said after a bit of rest and relaxation, that he would be back on stage by 2013, going stronger than ever.

If you are visiting London Cardiovascular Clinic for a pacemaker, keep in mind that you are in good company.

11 Famous People With Pacemakers (Burton Race & Elton John?)

Pacemakers are small battery-powered devices which are implanted to treat certain problems in the heart’s electrical activity. Faulty electrical signaling in the heart causes arrhythmias. These devices use low-energy electrical pulses used to overcome this faulty electrical signaling.

Pacemakers usually treat two types of arrhythmias:

  • bradycardia, a heartbeat that’s too slow;
  • tachycardia, a heartbeat that’s too fast.

A pacemaker can typically be implanted in your chest with minor surgery.

Between 1993 and 2009, 2.9 million people received permanent pacemakers in the US. Overall use increased by 55.6 percent.

List Of 11 Famous People With Pacemakers:

#1 Ted Williams

Nicknamed “The Splendid Splinter,” “The Kid,” “The Thumper,” and “Teddy Ballgame”, Ted Williams is considered one of the greatest hitters of all-time. He played his entire career with the Boston Red Sox.

Williams was the last player to hit .400 in Major League Baseball (.406 in 1941). In 1966, Ted was inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame, in his first year of eligibility.

He was suffering from congestive heart failure (occurs when the heart muscle doesn’t pump blood as well as it should), due to a rapid heartbeat, and was hospitalized for a few weeks before having a single chamber pacemaker implanted.

#2 Julie Bowen

She is an American model and actress who is best known for playing Carol Vessey on Ed (2000–04), Aunt Gwen on Dawson’s Creek (2000), Sarah Shephard on Lost (2005–07), Denise Bauer on Boston Legal (2005–07), and Claire Dunphy on Modern Family.

Julie Bowen had a pacemaker implanted in her 20s.

#3 Kirk Douglas

He is an American actor, author, filmmaker, and centenarian. The actor brought his formidable talent to movies like ”The Bad and the Beautiful” and ”Spartacus.”

Kirk has received 3 Academy Award nominations and an Oscar for Lifetime Achievement.

In August 1986, Kirk Douglas had a pacemaker fitted after collapsing in a restaurant.

#4 Mother Teresa

She was the founder of a Roman Catholic congregation of women, called the Order of the Missionaries of Charity, that was dedicated to helping the poor.

She grew up in the Ottoman Empire.

In 1979, Mother Teresa won the Nobel Peace Prize for her work among the poor.

In 1989, Mother Teresa was admitted to the hospital’s intensive care unit with a high temperature and an irregular heartbeat. She had a permanent pacemaker implanted.

In 2016, she was canonized by the Roman Catholic Church as Saint Teresa.

#5 Burton Race

He is a British celebrity chef and television personality who was made famous by the Channel 4 series French Leave and its sequel ”I’m A Celebrity, Get Me Out Of Here” and ”Return of the Chef.”

He has also appeared on other television programs including ”Britain’s Best Dish.”

Burton Race has revealed how he nearly died following a routine operation to replace his pacemaker. Nearly a year later, he underwent a six-and-a-half-hour operation to remove the pacemaker.

#6 Dick Cheney

He is an American businessman and politician who served as the 46th vice president of the US from 2001 to 2009.

The former vice president specialized in energy, defense, and the Middle East.

In 2007, Dick Cheney’s doctors disabled his pacemaker’s wireless capabilities to thwart possible assassination attempts.

In 2012, an episode of the Showtime drama ”Homeland” featured a similar situation involving a pacemaker used in an assassination plot.

Dick Cheney said of the episode – “I found it credible. Because I know from the experience we had and the necessity for adjusting my own device that it was an accurate portrayal of what was possible.”

#7 Sir Elton John

Image credit – https://sw.wikipedia.org/wiki/Picha:Elton_John_on_stage,_2008.jpg

He is an English pianist, singer, and composer.

Sir Elton John has more than 50 Top 40 hits, including 58 Billboard Top 40 singles, 7 consecutive number one albums in the U.S., and 27 Top 10.

In 1999, following tests that revealed he was suffering from an irregular heartbeat, Sir Elton John has had a heart pacemaker fitted.

#8 Sir David Attenborough

He is an English natural historian and broadcaster who is best known for presenting and writing the nine natural history documentary series which forms a comprehensive survey of plant and animal life on Earth.

Attenborough was the recipient of many honors, including a Peabody Award (2014) and a few BAFTA Awards. In 1985, he was knighted.

Sir David Attenborough admitted that he has suffered from some minor heart trouble, that threatened his career. Hence, Attenborough decided to have a pacemaker fitted.

Speaking during an interview on The Jonathan Ross Show, Sir David Attenborough said:

“I had a funny five minutes. No more than that. I had to go to Australia and the insurance said they wouldn’t insure me to go on a long flight unless I had something to monitor my heart to make sure it didn’t do funny things. So they give you this thing, it’s called a pacemaker.”

Sir David Attenborough later added:

”And all it does, if your heart suddenly decides it’s going to skip a beat or something, it kicks in. And if it doesn’t, it doesn’t. And I don’t think it has.”

#9 Mark Farner

He is an American guitarist, singer, and songwriter, who is best known as the lead guitarist and lead singer for Grand Funk Railroad.

In 2012, he had a pacemaker put in. His wife Lesia declared:

”(W)e’re back home now and settled in. Mark is doing well. He’s very sore and has had the wind knocked out of his sails temporarily. Doc said don’t baby him so he’s been up and around a bit.”

Lesia went n to say:

”He was outdoors for a while yesterday just putting around, in the barn with his buddies Sylvester & LD the cats. Today he repaired Jesse’s over head lift and rested quite a bit. He’s a trooper!”

#10 Roger Moore

Image credit – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Roger_Moore_-_1971.jpg

He was an English actor who is best known for having played a secret agent James Bond in 7 feature films from 1973 to 1985.

In addition, he was well known for playing in the television show The Saint.

During a dance number, Roger Moore fainted but managed to recover and finish his performance before being taken to a nearby hospital for tests. Doctors at Manhattan’s Beth Israel Medical Center decided to implant him a pacemaker.

#11 Stan Lee

He was an American comic book writer best known for his work with Marvel Comics.

Stan Lee had a pacemaker implanted when he was 89. After the medical device was implanted, an official statement was released:

”Attention, Troops!

This is a dispatch sent from your beloved Generalissimo, directly from the center of Hollywood’s combat zone!

Now hear this! Your leader hath not deserted thee! In an effort to be more like my fellow Avenger, Tony Stark, I have had an electronic pace-maker placed near my heart to ensure that I’ll be able to lead thee for another 90 years.

But fear thee not, my valiant warriors. I am in constant touch with our commanders in the field and victory shall soon be ours. Now I must end this dispatch and join my troops, for an army without a leader is like a day without a cameo!

Excelsior!”

References https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/9793079 https://www.heartrhythmjournal.com/article/S1547-5271(15)00256-8/pdf https://www.ahajournals.org/doi/10.1161/CIRCRESAHA.118.313429

Selena Gomez to Miley Cyrus: Seven celebs you didn’t know battled disease

Selena Gomez has come out for the first time and revealed in an interview to Billboard that she suffered from lupus two years ago and underwent chemotherapy for the same. And all this while the media speculated that she checked into a rehab, while trolls indulged in fat-shaming. We may not always know what pain celebs hide behind their pretty smiles and buff looks and do not consider that they too might be battling diseases like regular people do.
Selena’s revelation was shocking enough to make us sit up and notice that many celebrities too suffer from various health conditions. Many speak out, many hide it. Here are a few celebs you probably didn’t know suffered from severe illness. Also read: Selena Gomez reveals she underwent chemotherapy after Lupus diagnosis

Lady Gaga: Pop singer Lady Gaga was diagnosed with synovitis, a disease similar to lupus in 2013. It is usually defined as an inflammation of the synovial membrane, the soft tissue that sits between the joint capsule and the joint cavity. The disease affects joints and makes it very difficult for a person to move or even walk without assistance because of which Gaga was forced to cancel a part of her Born This Way world tour.

Avril Lavigne: Singer Avril Lavigne revealed in April this year that she has been battling lyme disease. Avril was bedridden for five months and she thought she “was dying”. The fear of death germinated from her inability to eat, talk or move. About a month ago the 31-year-old took to Instagram to share an update with fans about her ongoing journey to recovery. Also read: Journey continues – Avril Lavigne on battle with lyme disease

Kim Kardashian West: You may be reading a lot about her struggle with pregnancy, but did you know that Kim Kardashian West suffers from psoriasis, a chronic skin condition which causes skin rashes and lesions. The reality TV star revealed her condition in 2011. Her diagnosis was covered on an episode of Keeping Up With the Kardashians.

Miley Cyrus: In her 2009 autobiography Miles To Go, Miley Cyrus disclosed that she has tachycardia, a condition in which the heart rate exceeds the range of a normal resting heart rate. Though the type of tachycardia she has is not life-threatening, it is worrisome enough to bother her on-stage. “The type of tachycardia I have isn’t dangerous. It won’t hurt me, but it does bother me,” she wrote in her autobiography. “There is never a time on-stage when I’m not thinking about my heart.”

Catherine Zeta Jones: The Mask Of Zorro actress had been suffering from bipolar II disorder for quite a long time but realised she needed help as late as 2013. Catherine Zeta Jones checked herself into a rehab in May 2013, after her conditioned worsen due to the stress brought on by husband Michael Douglas’ throat cancer, and consequent neglect of her own health. Once the actress was done with her treatment, she opened up about her disorder to remove the stigma surrounding it.

Nick Jonas: The American singer and actor was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes at the age of 13 and wears an insulin pump to manage his condition. Nick Jonas was diagnosed with type 1 diabetes in November 2005 and announced his condition publicly at an event called Carnival For a Cure in 2007. Type 1 diabetes develops due to an autoimmune disorder that destroys the insulin producing cells in the pancreas, leaving the body unable to produce enough insulin to process the sugar we eat.

Hugh Jackman: The X-Men star has battled skin cancer on four different occasions–an experience he describes as both shocking and humbling. “It’s always a bit of a shock just hearing the word ‘cancer,'” the 46-year-old actor revealed in a new interview. “Being an Australian, (skin cancer) is a very common thing. I never wore sunscreen growing up so I was a prime candidate for it.” He was first diagnosed with the disease in November 2013 when his makeup artist pointed out a spot on his face and urged him to see a doctor.

Miley Cyrus Reveals She Has a Heart Condition

Miley Cyrus

Tween queen Miley Cyrus has written songs about her broken heart, but in her new autobiography she writes about an actual heart affliction.
Cyrus has a condition called tachycardia, which causes her heart rate to speed up. “The type of tachycardia I have isn’t dangerous,” she writes in her new book, Miles to Go. “It won’t hurt me, but it does bother me. There is never a time onstage when I’m not thinking about my heart.”
The book also addresses her broken heart in a chapter to her “Prince Charming,” perhaps one Nick Jonas. “Wow! I was so in love,” she writes. “Do you know what I’m talking about? The kind of love where the sun could shine or not shine all day long and you wouldn’t care.”
After their breakup, that love turned to hate — at least in the form of her song “7 Things I Hate About You.”
“I was angry when I wrote ‘7 Things,'” she writes. “I wanted to punish him, to get back at him for hurting me. It starts with a list of what I ‘hate.’ But I’m not a hater. My heart knew from the start that it was going to turn into a love song. Why does he get a love song? Because I don’t hate him.”

Miley Cyrus has a condition called tachycardia, which causes her heart rate to speed up, she reveals in her new autobiography, Miles to Go.

“The type of tachycardia I have isn’t dangerous. It won’t hurt me, but it does bother me,” she writes. “There is never a time onstage when I’m not thinking about my heart.”

Cyrus also dedicates a chapter to her “Prince Charming,” who appears to be ex Nick Jonas.

How well do you know teen stars?

“Wow! I was so in love,” she says. “Do you know what I’m talking about? The kind of love where the sun could shine or not shine all day long and you wouldn’t care.”

After they split, she penned “7 Things I Hate About You.”

“I was angry when I wrote 7 Things,” she says. “I wanted to punish him, to get back at him for hurting me. It starts with a list of what I ‘hate.’ But I’m not a hater. My heart knew from the start that it was going to turn into a love song. Why does he get a love song? Because I don’t hate him.”

See photos of Miley’s biggest celeb fans.

The 16-year-old bites back at the criticism she’s received after controversial moves like posing topless in Vanity Fair and appearing in controversial photos that offended Asian people.

Look back at Miley’s biggest scandals.

“I try to be a good role model,” she writes. “and that’s why I think it’s too bad that lots of people hope to make money off my mistakes.”

For access to all our exclusive celebrity videos and interviews – Subscribe on YouTube!

Miles to Go: Miley Cyrus suffers from a heart condition

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She says in her new autobiography ‘Miles to Go’: “The type of tachycardia I have isn’t dangerous. It won’t hurt me, but it does bother me. There is never a time onstage when I’m not thinking about my heart.”

Health problems aren’t the only subject Miley has spoken about in her tell-all tome. She reveals that her school days were “friendless, lonely and miserable”. The 16-year-old ‘Hannah Montana’ star was bullied so badly when she was being

educated in Tennessee she believed she would be physically harmed. A difficult scenario to imagine the successful star ever having been in.

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An entire chapter is also dedicated to ‘Prince Charming’, the nickname she uses to refer to her first love.

However, Miley is keen to play down reports she is talking about ex-boyfriend Nick Jonas, a member of The Jonas Brothers.

The ‘Hannah Montana’ star said: “I didn’t necessarily talk about ‘dating a Jonas’. I talked about dating and who I really feel my first love is, and everyone wants to put a name with the code.

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“But really I wouldn’t use a code if I thought it was obvious. So no-one really knows who he is.” The ‘7 Things I Hate About You’ singer wrote her autobiography to tell her story to her fans. She concluded: “I want to be the one who finally got to say my opinion. It’s really important for the fans to feel that they’re like you more than just someone they can look up to and someone they feel like they can be friends with.”

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Famous Hearts and Their Problems

Introduction to Heart Disease

The human heart is the engine of the body, so to speak. It is basically a pump that moves blood to where it is required around the body. The heart is made up of four chambers separated by valves and it is divided into two halves. Each have has one chamber called an atrium and one called the ventricle. The atrium collects blood and the ventricles push out the blood from the heart. The right ventricle handles deoxygenated blood and the left side handles the oxygen rich blood.

The normal term used for a problem with the heart is Cardiac Disease. The most common two are Heart Attack and Heart Failure. Luckily, most of the heart diseases are avoidable in some way through diet control and exercise. Taking preventative steps usually minimizes negative effects of existing heart conditions to zero.

Heart diseases are common in both genders. Even though studies have shown men to be at greater risk than women, this does not rule out women having their fare share of problems.

Age is a huge factor that contributes to heart disease risks. The older you get the more prone to a heart condition you will become. That is just how nature works. Your best option to fight against this is to keep your body as healthy as you can.

Genetics plays another key role in how heart diseases play out. Some people have to struggle with heart diseases since the day they were born but that hasn’t stopped them from living full and healthy lives. With proper care and treatment the side effects are almost nonexistent.

Other contributing factors to heart diseases are focused around a person’s diet or the lack there of. Obesity and high cholesterol are the leading causes of heart attacks. Too much cholesterol in the blood starts to build up deposits on the heart walls that restrict its blood pumping abilities.

Keeping these in check and visiting your cardiologist are the the keys to a happy heart.

Celebrities with Heart Disease

Celebrities are looked upon as perfect people, with perfect lives. But that is far from the truth. The fact is that celebs are just like you, with real hearts and real heart-related problems too.

Here are some celebrities that are living in the spotlight even though they have heart conditions trying to hold them back. Not only are they managing their lives well, but their lifestyle should be a source of inspiration to anyone facing similar issues.

Miley Cyrus – Musician – Tachycardia

Miley Cyrus is no stranger to the rockstar lifestyle. She has seen her rise to fame starting from a very tender age and that has affected her development. She recently opened up about her condition that causes her resting heart rhythm to be substantially higher than what is considered to be of the normal range.

This condition is called Tachycardia. While she never specified which tachycardia it is believed to be atrial fibrillation. This condition is not life-threatening but it is not without risk. This causes the heart to work overtime and that adds up to a higher chance of strokes in the future.

She also says that she has to be constantly aware of her heartbeat when she is one stage so that she does not push herself over the edge. She visits her cardiologist regularly and has started maintaining a healthier lifestyle to help manage her heart better.

Shaun White – Snowboarder – Born with Tetralogy of Fallot

Tetralogy of Fallot is a congenital heart defect that affects the way blood flows through the heart. He had to undergo two open heart surgeries before he was even a year old. That did not stop him from conquering his goals of becoming a multiple gold medal winner at the winter X games and an Olympic gold medal later.

Growing up, White was told to abstain from athletic activities because of his “sluggish” heart but with routine and care he was able to achieve his goals.

Bret Michaels – Hole in his heart (Patent foramen ovale – PFO)

Bret Michaels has a hole in his heart, also known as Patent foramen ovale –PFO. This is a condition that affects about 20 percent of the adult population. A hole in the heart causes blood from one side of the heart to move over to the other side, and causes clots that eventually lead to strokes in the victims.

Bret Michaels suffered such a stroke and had to be then rushed to the hospital for an emergency checkup. The doctors cleared him after 12 days of intensive care and told him to rest and rework his lifestyle choices.

Jennie Garth – Leaky Valve – Aortic Regurgitation

At the age of 37 Jennie decided to visit a cardiologist because she was aware of her genetic potential of contracting a heart disease. This visit had her diagnosed with a leaky valve also known as aortic regurgitation.

Before this meeting, Jennie had never felt that anything was wrong with her, and it was quite the surprise when she found out that she had a problem. Luckily she got to know about this before things got serious and is now actively reworking her lifestyle to fit her heart’s needs.

She has two daughters that she has to keep in check for the same potential problems if they were to ever surface.

UK’s Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair – Supraventricular Tachycardia (SVT)

Former Prime Minister, Tony Blair, had been complaining about heart palpitations, dizziness, discomfort and distress before he was taken to the hospital for a checkup. This checkup led to the diagnosis of a condition known as Supraventricular Tachycardia.

This disorder causes the heart to beat at twice the normal rate, so if the normal rate is anywhere from 50-100, it will cause it to jump to an average of 180 beats per minute.

To tackle this better and avoid triggers, Mr. Blair had to cut coffee out of his diet completely. He was treated for this condition with cardioversion. The treatment includes inserting tiny electrode catheters into the vein or artery until they finally reach the heart.

Then the heart is stimulated by electrical impulses so that the abnormal electrical pathways can be identified and eventually destroyed.

Toni Braxton – Pericarditis

Grammy award winning singer Toni Braxton was in the middle of a performance when she started realizing she was not feeling all that well. She started feeling lightheaded and weak and that is all she can recall before she passed out.

Having been rushed to the hospital Toni was made aware of her condition of Pericarditis. This is often caused by a virus that causes the inflammation of the tissues surrounding the heart causing them to swell.

This, in turn, restricts the heart’s ability to fully relax or contract causing improper blood flow around the body. Luckily, this time it was not life threatening and a year’s worth of medicine is all it took for Toni to be back to normal.

She recalls her time when she ignored all of the symptoms she was facing and waved them off as exhaustion. This goes to show you how important it is to know what your body is trying to tell you via certain symptoms. It is also very important to have regular checkups to make sure everything is in order when it comes to your body.

Howie Mandel – Atrial Fibrillation

Comedian, actor and TV host, Howie Mandel was diagnosed with atrial fibrillation. This is a condition with makes the heart beat at an irregular pace. This in turn leads to poor blood flow in the body, increasing the chances of a stroke.

He first learned of his condition when he went to the doctor for a routine checkup and was immediately referred to a cardiologist. Since then he has been campaigning for heart health and awareness so that other people do not find out when it is already too late.

People with AFib are 5 times more likely to have a stroke because the blood pooling in the heart increases the chance clot formation which may then be transported to the brain.

Former Vice President Dick Cheney – Atrial fibrillation

Dick Cheney is the poster child for what not to do to mess up your heart. He started smoking cigarettes when he was 12 years old. His daily stable diet was a dozen doughnuts and three packs of cigarettes when he was Chief of Staff for President Gerald Ford.

Cheney suffered his first heart attack when he was 37 years old in 1978 while campaigning for congress.

He went on to suffer 4 more heart attacks over the years; one in 1984, 1988, 2000 and the latest in 2010.

He finally had a heart pump placed to take care of the circulation which stayed in his body for 20 months till he finally received a transplant.

All of this could have been avoided with a better lifestyle and regular visits to the cardiologist. High stress situations often associate themselves with heart problems and that is why it is important to know about your heart’s health when working under such conditions.

Former President George H.W Bush – Atrial Fibrillation

The former president was diagnosed with a blocked artery when he went in for a routine checkup in August of 2013. He was then told to get angioplasty done to open the blocked artery. He was 67 at the time of this discovery.

George Bush was an avid cyclist and exercise enthusiast even before the heart problem was discovered and this goes to show that no matter what your lifestyle is, the heart always needs attention.

It was given his active lifestyle that he did not suffer too long after the procedure and he could return to his normal routine almost immediately afterwards. This goes to show you that a visit to your cardiologist is always a good thing as it might save your life.

Bill Clinton – Bypass Surgery – Atherosclerosis “Clogged Arteries”

Three years after his service as President, Bill started experiencing chest pain and shortness of breath. He went to a cardiologist and found out that his arteries were narrowing. He then went under quadruple bypass surgery in 2004.

Later in 2010, he went another procedure where stents were inserted to keep his arteries from closing. This too was done because he had started feeling chest pains and went to the cardiologist to have it checked out.

While waiting for symptoms to show up is almost always too late, people do manage to get lucky sometimes. These procedures prevented future episodes and restored President Clinton back to health. Always be sure of your heart’s health by regularly visiting your cardiologist. This will make sure you do not get an unwanted surprise that might take your life.

GENE SIMMONS – Atrial Fibrillation

Gene Simmons, a legend of Rock, was on tour 10 years ago and during a performance when the temperature went up he started to feel his heart beat quicken. Kiss is famous for giving very flashy performances that take a toll on their members’ bodies.

This got so bad that he started to sweat a lot more than normal and his vision become blurry. He then consulted a doctor and found out that he had a heart condition. He has been working actively to keep his lifestyle clean so that he does not overwork his heart, and suggests that people do the same and visit their cardiologist regularly.

Sir Elton John – Irregular Heartbeat

Award-winning singer and songwriter, Sir Elton John, had been suffering from an irregular heartbeat. This would cause his heart to beat really fast at times, and then slow down at others.

He was later diagnosed as having Tachycardia-Bradycardia Syndrome. To counter this, Sir Elton John received a pacemaker in 1999 to help regulate his heartbeat. Ever since then he has been functioning properly and he has been healthy enough to carry on legacy and amazing musical career.

Barry Manilow – Atrial Fibrillation

Barry shares his story so he can raise awareness on how serious heart problems can be if left unchecked. Most people do not even know what is happening to them in case they are facing a heart problem let alone take emergency care.

Barry retells his account on how he faced his heart skipping beats as he was driving home and he did not even realize he was having an episode. From that point onwards, Barry made sure to visit his cardiologist regularly and take his atrial fibrillation medication to manage his heart rhythm better.

Miley Cyrus Has a Heart Condition Called Tachycardia

Celebrity

Claiming her heart condition tachycardia isn’t dangerous, Miley Cyrus says the condition does bother her, especially when she is on-stage.

  • Mar 11, 2009

AceShowbiz – %cMiley Cyrus% discloses in her autobiography titled “Miles to Go” that she has a heart condition called tachycardia, which is described as a condition when heart rate exceeds the range of a normal resting heart rate. “The type of tachycardia I have isn’t dangerous. It won’t hurt me, but it does bother me,” she writes. “There is never a time on-stage when I’m not thinking about my heart.”

Also dedicating an entire chapter in the tome to “Prince Charming”, who is widely believed to be her ex-boyfriend %cNick Jonas%, Miley recalls the time when she was still dating him, writing “Wow! I was so in love.” She goes on gushing, “Do you know what I’m talking about? The kind of love where the sun could shine or not shine all day long and you wouldn’t care.”

On her writing the song “7 Things I Hate About You” soon after she broke up with Nick, the teen sensation explains, “I was angry when I wrote 7 Things. I wanted to punish him, to get back at him for hurting me. It starts with a list of what I ‘hate.’ But I’m not a hater. My heart knew from the start that it was going to turn into a love song. Why does he get a love song? Because I don’t hate him.”

In her just released “Miles to Go”, Miley Cyrus also opens up about losing her grandfather and becoming the target of public’s mock after appearing topless in Vanity Fair magazine. She additionally addresses on her latest photo scandal that was considered offending Asian people.

Famous Recipients

People from all walks of life have an Implantable device including; celebrities, world-class athletes, politicians and business leaders.

Entertainers

Elton John had a pacemaker implanted in the summer of 1999. After the procedure, he was quoted as saying, “The only long-term effect of the heart problem is that I have to carry a card explaining why I set off the alarms when I walk through airport security.”

Charlie Daniels, an American multi-instrumentalist lyricist, and singer, best known for his number one country hit “The Devil Went Down to Georgia”.

Julie Bowen, star of Modern Family show. When the doctors broke the news she needed a pacemaker, she remembers having “a big crying fit” about needing a device that’s “for old people.” Since then, she’s come to realize how lucky she is that a serious medical problem could be remedied in a way she considers “no big deal”.

Jeffrey Wayne Fattt, an Australian musician, and actor who is best known as a member of the children’s band The Wiggles.​
Garrison Keillor, a humorist had a pacemaker implanted in 2017 at the Mayo Clinic.

Max Page, the child actor who gained fame after playing “little Darth Vader” in a 2011 Super Bowl commercial, has a heart valve and pacemaker.

Sir David Frederick Attenborough, English broadcaster and natural historian.

Saul Hudson (Slash), Guns n’ Roses lead guitarist. He has received critical acclaim and is considered one of the greatest guitarists in rock history.

Ric Flair, retired WWE legend has a pacemaker.

David Hasselhoff, former Baywatch star received a defibrillator implant in 2019 to stave off a heart attack.

Kirk Douglas, an American actor, producer, director, and author.

Jann Arden, Canadian singer & songwriter. She had a pacemaker for 17 years, but it was removed because she no longer needed it. “One tends to really think about living and dying when you get a pacemaker implanted at 20 years old.” Her pacemaker experience inspired her popular “Will You Remember Me” song.

Robert Guillaume, actor best known for playing Benson DuBois on ‘Soap’ and ‘Benson’.​

Krusty, a character from the famous Simpsons television show.

Mark Fredrick Farner, an American singer, guitarist and songwriter, best known as the lead singer and lead guitarist for Grand Funk Railroad.

Burton Race, a British starred chef, television personality and celebrity.

Athletes

Fred Hoiberg, men’s basketball coach for the Iowa State University Cyclones

Khalilou Fadiga, former professional footballer had an automatic defibrillator implanted at 29 years old.

Brett MacLean, former NHL hockey player.

Sir Alex Ferguson, former Manchester United soccer manager.

Anja Andersen, a famous handball player in Denmark had a pacemaker implanted in 1999 after several fainting spells during playing. She is now a handball coach.

Barry Grant, cricket champion

Kemoy Campbell, the pacer whose heart stopped halfway through the 3,000m at the Millrose Games in early 2019 wo weeks ago had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted in case it happens again.

Bob Huggins, an American college basketball coach.University has a defibrillator (ICD).

Tommy Lasorda, baseball Manager who lead Dodgers to two World Series titles while managing the team from 1976 to 1996.

Darrell Wayne Lukas, an American horse trainer and a U.S. Racing Hall of Fame inductee.

Charlie Powell, Florence Motor Speedway’s owner. His thoughts on his pacemaker – “..it beats the alternative.”

Staale Solbakken, is a former Norigiena midfielder soccer player who is now coaching received a pacemaker at 33 years old.

James Taylor, a former Nottinghamshire and England batsman, has a defibrillator. In April 2016, the right-handed batsman was forced to retire from international cricket at the age of just 26 after he was diagnosed with arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC).

Leaders

Silvio Berlusconi, former Italian prime minister and media tycoon.

Adrienne Clarkson, former Canadian Governor General.

Paras Bir Bikram Shah Dev, former Crown Prince of Nepal has a pacemker.

Reuven Rivlin, President of Israel.

Dianne Feinstein, US Senator.

Bob Dole, an American politician who represented Kansas in the Senate.

Pope Benedict XVI, leader of the Catholic Church.

Dick Cheney, former US Vice-President had an implantable cardioverter defibrillator (ICD) implanted in 2001.

James Major, son of former British Prime Minister John Major, had a pacemaker implanted at 26 years old.

Famous Member Memorials

Mother Teresa, the Roman Catholic nun who devoted her life to the poorest of the poor in Calcutta had a pacemaker.

Dr. John Hopps, twenty-seven years after inventing the first pacemaker in 1950, he was fitted with one to regulate his heartbeat. Hopps died just before his invention was voted the Canadian engineering invention of the century

Earl Bakken, it’s quite ironic that Medtronic’s co-founder, had a pacemaker. Earl Bakken and his brother-in-law Palmer Hermundslie started Medtronic in a garage in northeast Minneapolis, where they repaired electronic hospital equipment. Medtronic is now the world’s leading medical technology company and pacemaker manufacturer.

Les Paul, famous guitarist who invented the solid-body electric guitar and his namesake line of guitar.

Roger Moore, the star of seven James Bond movies had a pacemaker implanted on May 10, 2003. Moore played the part of Agent 007 in the movies from 1973 to 1985.

Frances Faye, consummate entertainer.
Byron Baer, former United Sates Senator.
Malcolm Mitchell Young, the Australian musician and songwriter, best known as a co-founder, rhythm guitarist, backing vocalist and songwriter for the hard rock band AC/DC had a pacemaker.

George Voinovich, a former US Senator from Ohio​​.

Jim Nabors, singer with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame had this to say about his pacemaker – “I have much more energy now. I’m made up of parts and pieces”.

Stan Lee, the American comic-book writer, editor, publisher, media producer, television host, actor, president and chairman of Marvel.

John David Dingell, an American politician who served as a member of the United States House of Representatives from 1955 until 2015. A member of the Democratic Party, he holds the record for longest-ever serving Congressperson in American history.

Carlo Azeglio Ciampi, former Italian President and banker.

Rishang Keishing, a senior politician of the Indian National Congressparty and a Member of the Parliament of India.

Moose Skowron, former New York Yankee ball player who played in eight World Series in the 1950s.
Joseph “Joe” Jackson, the manager and father of the Jackson family of entertainers which includes music superstars Michael Jackson and Janet Jackson.

Ted Williams, the last Major League baseball player to hit.400 in 1941 had a single chamber pacemaker implanted in 2000 to treat congestive heart failure.
Ed Koch, New York’s feisty former Mayor.

Jake LaMotta, fomer professional boxer.

Arnold Palmer, retired American professional golfer who is generally regarded as one of the greatest in history.

Mike Wallace, news correspondent and co-editor of 60 Minutes since its 1968 premiere.

Howard Reig, NBC nightly news announcer.
Hans-Dietrich Genscher, German Foreign Minister.
Jesse Helms, United State Senator was fitted with a pacemaker in August 2003.
Don Haskins, basketball coach and member of the basketball Hall of Fame.

Byron Nelson, golf legend had a pacemaker implanted in 1999 to combat bouts of vertigo, dizziness and an irregular heartbeat.

Helmut Schmidt, former German Chancellor.
Prince Claus of the Netherlands.
Jimmy Stewart, the legendary star of 75 films including “It’s a Wonderful Life” and “The Philadelphia Story”.
Dale Evans, known as the “Queen of the West”. She co-starred in 35 films and several 1950s and ’60s television shows with her husband, Roy Rogers. She’s credited with writing the “Happy Trails to You” theme song that became attached to her and her husband’s work.
Izzy Asper, the colorful Canadian media baron.
Jack Buck, a mainstay in the Cardinals broadcast booth and longtime sports director for KMOX radio.
Bob Bullock, former Texas Lieutenant Governor, had a pacemaker. Before his operation he joked by saying; “It’s very interesting. … Once it’s in there, you all can come in here and feel it. They tell me after they install it you can feel it under the skin.”

Buddy Ebsen, the actor who starred as Jud Clampett on the Beverly Hillbillies.
Phyllis Diller, comedian – “I’m the bionic woman!” she once bragged.

Johnny Grant, Hollywood’s honorary mayor who has served as master of ceremonies when new stars were placed on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Jorge Amado, the famous Brazilian novelist.
Keizo Obuchi, former Japanese Prime Minister.

Gerald Ford, former United States President.

Don Ho, known for his signature tune “Tiny Bubbles”.

Ian Fraser Kilmister (Lemmy), English musician, singer, and songwriter who founded and fronted the rock band Motorhead.

Science Changes Lives: Pacemaker for a 28-year-old footballer? Yes, it saved me

WHEN I WENT into the doctor, it was as if he was doing this all his life. The way he said it to me! He sat across from me with the report book and asked, ‘Have you another career?’ I said ‘No’. The chair got smaller and the room got bigger. That feeling: Could I please wake up from this? It felt like a nightmare! – Sean Prunty

Sean Prunty playing for Longford Town in the FAI Ford Cup Quarter Final in 2007. Source: James Crombie/INPHO

Seán Prunty moved to England at 16 to play for Middlesbrough Football Club. Three years later he moved home to Longford Town. When his club was relegated from the top league in 2007, he moved to Drogheda United.

“I was always able to train at the highest intensity,” he says.

His new club was set to play in the Champions League that year so all players were screened for heart problems. But when Prunty was examined, it wasn’t good news. For the “fit and healthy” footballer, this routine test threw up a surprise. “They made a decision that I would have to stop playing soccer with immediate effect.”

The then 28-year-old professional was diagnosed with a cardiomyopathy, indicating there was a problem (pathy) with the muscle (myo) of the heart. His heart was functioning at only 30%. Most athletes have a heart function of around 80%.

Without a pacemaker I wouldn’t be here

During the three years following his diagnosis, he had a number of cardiac arrests and was fitted with a pacemaker. This is a small device which is inserted into either the chest or the abdomen to help control abnormal heart rhythms. When the heart beats incorrectly, it is unable to pump enough blood around the body. This can result in tiredness, shortness of breath and, if organs are damaged, death.

The first implantable pacemakers were trialled in humans in the late 1950s. United States inventor Wilson Greatbatch improved previous versions of this device in his barn until one that worked first in dog and then human trials was licensed for use in 1961.

Intermittent electrical impulses are used to compensate for breakdowns in the heart’s natural rhythm but the equipment used to do this was too bulky to fit inside the body prior to the 1950s. Greatbatch conducted many experiments until he overcame obstacles including shrinking the equipment and shielding it from body fluid.

Pacemaker technology is constantly being developed. New research published last month in the journal Science described an innovative biological pacemaker. Instead of being powered by batteries which need to be changed every few years, a gene was injected into the heart of a number of pigs. This transformed normal cells into special cells that can initiate a heartbeat.

Though biological pacemakers are still a number of years away, Prunty’s piece of technology stops him worrying about “keeling over”. It has also been a big relief for his parents who worried every time he went to sleep before the pacemaker was fitted. “My father would come in and check on me at night to see if I was still breathing,” he recalls.

Sean and his girlfriend Jacqueline Fitzpatrick at the Runamuck Challenge last year.

The retired athlete is now happy that he can “do a bit of training” without worrying about going into cardiac arrest. He has felt the pacemaker kick in around six times since 2011.

“You become so weak. Then all of a sudden you feel your heart beating again.” These events are reminders to him of what could have happened.

It wasn’t easy for Prunty to begin his career with no “piece of paper”. His lack of qualifications and higher education was just one of the hurdles he had to overcome. He was very angry at the time, as he “had nothing except playing football”. He says: “It was like a death in the family.”

With the help of a sports psychologist and an offer of a college place from Athlone IT, he rebuilt his life. He now works for an Irish sports nutrition company, Kinetica, and recently became a father when his son Evan was born in April. His anger has been replaced with relief that his heart problem was discovered.

“I have to count my blessings.”

THIS IS THE second in a series of articles which explore the impact that science and research is having on real people’s lives in Ireland.

From a pacemaker which keeps an athlete’s heart beating to an activist who has gone from being born deaf to being able to talk on the phone for the first time, we focus on five individuals for whom innovative technology is having a profound effect.

The series is inspired by the story of adventurer Mark Pollock’s bid to walk again through cutting-edge research and tech advances. His journey will be revealed in the feature documentary, Unbreakable: The Mark Pollock Film, due for release in Ireland this October.

As part of the release the film will be touring the country promoting science in association with the Science Foundation Ireland.

6 Famous People With Atrial Fibrillation

  • 1

    Several million Americans have atrial fibrillation, also called afib. It is the most common form of arrhythmia. This is an abnormal heart rhythm. Afib causes an irregular or rapid heartbeat. Among those living with the disease are celebrities. These include musicians, comedians, and presidents. Here are their stories.

    Hall of Fame: Athletes, Politicians, and Entertainers https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fbe%2Fe7%2Fb17b45404c99bf79a000e72ebf09%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-barry-manilow-107531567-rm-hg.jpg

  • 2

    Comedian and game show host Howie Mandel knew very little about afib before his diagnosis. Since then, he’s learned that having afib makes you more likely to have a stroke. He decided to partner with other companies through the Fibs or Facts Campaign.

    This organization raises stroke awareness among people with afib.

    1. Howie Mandel https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F44%2F95%2Fcfdc0f274c1cafba382d69a09eee%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-getty-howie-mandel-470824075-rm-hg.jpg

  • 3

    George Herbert Walker Bush first experienced symptoms of afib in 1991. He was still in office as the country’s 41st president. The symptoms prompted a visit to the Bethesda Naval Hospital for diagnosis and treatment. Health care providers found that the president’s afib was due to an overactive thyroid gland (hyperthyroidism). His afib turned out to be fairly minor, and he’s managed it over 25 years. Bush died at his home on November 30, 2018, after a long battle with vascular Parkinson’s disease.

    2. George H.W. Bush https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2F26%2F28%2Ffcbc53d44deba67805e29b1e01ee%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-george-bush.jpg

  • 4

    Even world-class athletes aren’t immune to afib. One of the best pro basketball players ever, former Boston Celtics star Larry Bird, believes he had afib during his playing days. However, health care providers didn’t diagnose the condition until he retired in 1992. Now an executive with the Indiana Pacers, Bird works to keep his afib in check.

    3. Larry Bird https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fbf%2Fa3%2F83450a6f488982fb865aba3d13aa%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-larry-bird.jpg

  • 5

    Recording artist Barry Manilow still performs regularly at age 70. However, the music icon has had afib symptoms for more than 15 years. He manages the condition with the help of his doctor. He’s also a spokesman for a national campaign called “Get Back In Rhythm.” The campaign urges fans to get checked and treated if need be. As Manilow says, “I feel better when my heart and my music are in rhythm.”

    4. Barry Manilow https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fbe%2Fe7%2Fb17b45404c99bf79a000e72ebf09%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-barry-manilow-107531567-rm-hg.jpg

  • 6

    Stress can play a role in afib. That may be the case for former Vice President Joe Biden. He suffered an episode of afib in 2006. Too much caffeine and the rigors of public life may have been to blame. Since then, Biden has managed his heart health with more exercise, less caffeine, and an aspirin a day.

    5. Joe Biden https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/crop/1494×999%2B5%2B0/resize/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Fb7%2Fb5%2F0490137b4c1799dc8c372beb9cdc%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-null.jpg

  • 7

    Jerry West is another NBA legend who played for years with untreated afib. He thought his racing heart was just part of the game. It wasn’t until he became the L.A. Lakers general manager that he finally got his afib diagnosis. West has had many cardioversion procedures to get his heartbeat back in sync. He still works to keep his condition under control.

    6. Jerry West https://d33ljpvc0tflz5.cloudfront.net/dims3/MMH/thumbnail/580×388/quality/75/?url=https%3A%2F%2Fd26ua9paks4zq.cloudfront.net%2Ff0%2Fa3%2F496c53b04598bc45b39996575006%2Fresizes%2F1500%2Fimage-jerry-west.jpg

Take It from Howie Mandel: Atrial Fibrillation Is a Dangerous Deal

Howie Mandel wants to make you a deal: Learn about atrial fibrillation, or A-fib, and you may just save a life.

In an interview with Healthline, the famed game show host spoke about his own experience living with the condition. Atrial fibrillation is the most common type of arrhythmia, or irregular heartbeat, and it affects nearly 6 million Americans. It can raise your risk of stroke by up to five times.

Mandel said he recently learned about his condition during a regular checkup. Although he hadn’t been feeling well, he suspected it was a consequence of his busy lifestyle. “I do 300 live tapes a year. I was on a plane every day, in a different time zone, sleeping at different times,” he said. “I felt lightheaded and dizzy and tired.”

What the doctor told him “scared the s–t out of me,” he said. “The guy takes a stethoscope and puts it to my chest and says, ‘Uh oh,’ and that’s one word you never want to hear twice.”

Explore the Human Heart in 3D “

A Funny Man with a Fluttering Heart

Mandel, though physically fit, funny, and a fast talker, fits the profile of a person who may be affected by A-fib.

The actor, whose hit TBS show Deal With It returns March 14, is 58 years old. A-fib mainly affects people 60 and older.

In the case of A-fib, the heart chambers, called the atria and ventricles, don’t coordinate properly. The atria move so fast that they don’t fully contract, causing a quiver that some patients feel and some don’t.

People with A-fib can have their hearts race as fast as 350 beats per minute, four times faster than the average of 80 beats per minute. When Mandel received his diagnosis, his heart was pumping 170 times per minute.

“There was something knocking at my chest telling me, ‘Hey, check this out,’” Mandel said. “I feel blessed for whatever reason that they found it, so I’m telling others about it. It is a manageable condition and is common, but it is dangerous if you don’t take care of it.”

‘Fibs or Facts’ Campaign

To that end, Mandel has become the face of the “Fibs or Facts” campaign conducted by Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb, manufacturers of medications for A-fib. Although the paid spokesman declined to talk about his own medical treatment, he noted that plenty of options are available for people living with A-fib.

Medication can treat A-fib by preventing blood from clotting or by controlling heart rate. Medical procedures to treat A-fib include cardioversion (controlled electrical stimulation to shock the heart into a regular rhythm), or having a pacemaker implanted.

Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, healthy eating, and giving up alcohol and smoking are also beneficial.

Learn More: Eating for a Healthy Heart “

Symptoms of A-fib include dizziness, feeling faint, anxiety, and sweating, but some patients don’t feel any physical symptoms at all.

“It’s easy to say ‘I don’t feel anything,’ and just go on in life,” said Mandel, who runs seven miles a day. “But your body is a fine-tuned machine that has to be taken care of like you take care of a car or any prized possession. See your doctor regularly.”

Mandel wants everyone to visit FibsOrFacts.com and take a quiz to familiarize themselves with A-fib. For each quiz completed, Pfizer and Bristol-Myers Squibb will donate $1 to the National Stroke Association, up to $25,000.

Stay Fit, Get Treated

Atrial fibrillation can be complicated by other heart problems, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.

Tim Arkebauer, a 55-year-old Rock Island, Ill., man living with A-fib, has had a difficult time recently. He has other heart problems, too, and wears a pacemaker. He has undergone cardioversion four times and takes medication every day.

He admits to being overweight and knows it doesn’t help. “Once I’m in rhythm, I feel great, I really do,” he told Healthline. “A-fib is extremely common, so I’m glad it’s being talked about, being communicated, and people are being evaluated.”

Learn All You Need to Know About A-fib “

When AFib Strikes Early in Life

Explaining heart rhythm problems in young people

Heart problems are often tied to aging. Your risk of several types of cardiovascular events, including atrial fibrillation, climbs higher as you approach middle age. But while atrial fibrillation or AFib risk does go up as you age, this is one heart disorder that could hit at any point in life.

Although the majority of AFib diagnoses happen over the age of 60, more and more young people – even teenagers and 20-somethings – are suffering from the heart condition. This trend could be partly traced to better diagnostic tools and more awareness, but whatever the reason, it’s important to know the facts and challenges surrounding an AFib diagnosis in young adults.

5 causes of AFib in young people

Wear and tear on the heart adds up over the years, which can lead to coronary artery disease, high blood pressure, and heart attacks – some of the most common causes of AFib. However, there are often different reasons behind an early AFib diagnosis, like congenital defects, unhealthy habits, and other illness.

It can be especially difficult to uncover the root cause of AFib in young people, but these are a few of the most commonly detected sources:

1. Stress. Stress is a major trigger of many conditions. Experts agree that it can have a direct and severe impact on AFib. Of course, stress comes in different packages at different stages of life, and for young people, the mix of school, social dynamics, and future planning can bring an overwhelming dose of stress.

How does stress lead to AFib? The stress response can activate the heart, jumpstarting electrical signals and encouraging AFib symptoms in those prone to them. Both mental and physical stress can cause this response, and in either case, you may need behavioural treatment as well as medication to resolve the issue.

2. Mineral imbalance. A fine balance of minerals, vitamins, water, and calories helps your body to function well. Unfortunately, it’s relatively easy to let your magnesium, calcium, potassium, and hydration levels lag – and that can set the stage for AFib.

It’s unfair to label young people as poor eaters – many consume a wholesome, balanced diet that serves their physical and mental health. However, many other young people subscribe to a processed food diet, which is usually deficient in many important nutrients.

3. Infection. Pericarditis, an infection that can develop around the heart membrane, could lead to AFib, but so could other bacterial infections that aren’t directly affecting the heart. Research has found that the level of C-reactive protein, an important marker of inflammation, is measurably higher in people with AFib.

Dental infection or disease could also cause trouble. You may have heard that gum disease increases your risk of some cardiovascular disease, but a recent study turned up , too. Experts suggest regular scaling to keep the inflammation down and mitigate your risk of heart rhythm problems.

4. Drug abuse. Illicit and commonly-prescribed drugs can trigger AFib, whether or not you have a pre-existing heart disorder. Stimulants are more often to blame, like nicotine, alcohol, and caffeine. Doctors have also discovered that opioid use can lead to heart rhythm irregularities, and given that more teenagers and young adults are misusing prescribed opioids, this poses a grave danger.

5. Comorbidities. Congenital defects could cause AFib to manifest earlier in life, as can other metabolic disorders, like diabetes. Hypertension, hyperthyroidism, and pulmonary embolism could also be at the root of the problem. For young people who suspect or know they have AFib, it’s important to work closely with your doctor to conduct a thorough examination of your medical history and physical health, in order to uncover any other illnesses that could be complicating matters.

Understanding Lone AFib

When atrial fibrillation develops before the age of 60 and without any related conditions, it’s known as lone AFib. In some cases, lone AFib is associated with a thyroid disorder, viral infections, or stimulant use, or it can be traced to family history. However, in many other cases, there’s simply no clear explanation for early-onset lone AFib.

Your doctor might first want to rule out factors like extreme exercise and sleep apnea – sometimes these are missed in the initial investigation. But even as diagnostic technology advances, little is known about why lone AFib happens. Fortunately for some, a course of medication can eliminate the AFib symptoms; for others, symptoms could come back, sometimes permanently.

Anyone under 60 who experiences AFib symptoms like palpitations, shortness of breath, or dizziness needs to visit a doctor. It can be tempting to ignore the discomfort, especially if it’s mild and you don’t have any other health problems, but the sooner you can start treatment for AFib, the better your chances of preventing it from getting worse.

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