‘I was having an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar addresses his atrial fibrillation diagnosis advises people ‘to get checked’

NBA legend Kareem Abdul-Jabbar is opening out all about his recent heart issue diagnosis in an effort to raise awareness and inspire people to prioritize their own healthcare.

During a recent interview with People, the NBA icon discussed his total thyroidectomy of atrial fibrillation, explaining that he had symptoms and seen warning signals for many years prior to finally accepting the severity of the condition.

Abdul-Jabbar reflected, “I was having an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath and had no energy or stamina,” he went on, “I couldn’t walk more than 30 yards without having to sit down and rest to catch my breath.”

Being an athlete Kareem had maintained his fitness and health for most of his life, he didn’t think he was in any real danger. Last year, though, while attending a Los Angeles Dodgers game, he became unwell and collapsed on the way to his vehicle, constantly evolving his outlook on life.

Abdul-Jabbar was brought to the hospital where doctors diagnosed him with atrial fibrillation, a kind of irregular heartbeat that may lead to strokes, blood clots, heart failure, and other serious conditions.

“The shortness of breath and irregular heartbeat are things that come and go but in the long-term, this is considered life-threatening and people need to know about it,” as Abdul-Jabbar noted. He went on, “It’s absolutely necessary for people to get checked by a doctor, and I hope that my coming out and talking about this will help people understand what they need to do to protect their health.”

That’s why Kareem supports Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer’s “No Time To Wait” awareness campaign, which aims to spread the word about atrial fibrillation and its probable symptoms so that people may get help sooner if they’re worried they might have it.

“It affects people from all walks of life,” Abdul-Jabbar stated. “It’s not something you can just dismiss.”

In a frank interview from December 2020, Abdul-Jabbar discussed the difficulties he and other African-Americans experience obtaining adequate medical treatment because of racial discrimination.

The legend wrote an opinion piece for WebMD in which he pondered on the fact that he is more at risk than the average person because of his age (73), his height (7’2″), and the fact that he has undergone “prostate cancer, leukemia, and heart bypass surgery.”


1 thought on “‘I was having an irregular heartbeat, shortness of breath’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar addresses his atrial fibrillation diagnosis advises people ‘to get checked’”

  1. A good recommendation is that adults over 30 take their blood pressure daily and you can hear the irregular beats between regular beats. So besides checking for high blood pressure, checking blood pressure with certified monitor , one can detect AFib.
    I take blood thinners to reduce probability of stroke. Electric shock offered short term relief but AFIb returned. Ablation is a possibility. A spin off for me is hypotension reposioing disorder from sitting down long intervals then jumping and walking but feeling dizzy. Have to hold onto something stable and it passes but scary.


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