Arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, are surprisingly common. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, atrial fibrillation, the most common kind of arrhythmia, affects between three and six million Americans. And celebrities aren’t immune. Here are five famous faces who haven’t let arrhythmias prevent them from living extraordinary lives.
Bangerz singer Miley Cyrus told the world of her tachycardia (racing heartbeat) in her 2009 memoir Miles to Go. She was born with a hole in her heart, which may be the cause of the arrhythmia. The 25-year-old says her rapid heartbeat isn't life threatening, but it worries her, especially when she's performing onstage or going up stairs. She’s afraid that such strenuous activities might cause her already-rapid-beating heart to beat faster.
Entertainer Miley Cyrus wrote about her heart condition in her 2009 memoir.
According to The Guardian, musician Elton John has an arrhythmia known as tachycardia-bradycardia syndrome. This causes his heart rate to alternately increase and decrease. He was diagnosed in 1999 when he collapsed on the way to sing at Victoria and David Beckham's wedding. After receiving a pacemaker, he recuperated within a couple of months and returned to the stage.
The flamboyant bassist of KISS learned he had atrial fibrillation after getting dizzy and fatigued while on tour, according to the website Ultimate Classic Rock. He says that he hasn't had many problems since, but an episode of the TV series Gene Simmons Family Jewels featured a segment of him discussing his condition with a doctor. The doctor told him that drugs and alcohol are common triggers for atrial fibrillation episodes, but Simmons explained that he was a teetotaler despite his rock-and-roll lifestyle.
Billie Jean King
Tennis star Billie Jean King reminds us that atrial fibrillation can affect professional athletes too. In fact, her atrial fibrillation may come from putting so much strain on her heart over the years, Dr. Manny Alvarez told Fox News. She also has diabetes and high blood pressure — two risk factors for irregular heartbeat. King says she found out that she had the condition after experiencing dizziness following a game of tennis.
Singer-songwriter Barry Manilow has had a number of atrial fibrillation episodes. Since opening up about his experience with the condition in 2011, Manilow has become a spokesperson for atrial fibrillation, joining forces with Get Back in Rhythm, a campaign to raise awareness. The 74-year-old says that he had his first episode about 17 years ago while he was driving. He says it felt like a fish was flopping in his chest. Manilow’s doctor has treated his condition with medications and electrical cardioversion, a procedure that uses an electrical shock to restore normal heart rhythm.