In support of the campaign, Abdul-Jabbar will share his experience with the condition, including what led to his diagnosis, and encourage others to speak to a healthcare professional if they are having symptoms.
“When I first started to experience symptoms like shortness of breath and light-headedness, I dismissed them until they reached a point where I could no longer ignore them and I ended up in the hospital where I was diagnosed with AF,” Abdul-Jabbar said. “I have joined the No Time to Wait campaign with Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer because I want my experience to help others understand the symptoms. Health is nothing to play around with. I hope my story can help motivate others to speak with a healthcare professional if they are experiencing symptoms.”
Approximately 9.5 million people in the US are projected to have AF in 2023; however, many people remain undiagnosed, dismissing their symptoms because they can come and go and can vary. AF increases the risk of stroke by approximately five times, so it is important for individuals to seek medical attention if they are experiencing these symptoms. Only a healthcare professional can determine whether symptoms indicate AF or another condition.
“In my experience, I have seen many patients ignore or dismiss their symptoms, potentially delaying diagnosis and treatment,” said Andrea Russo, cardiologist and academic chief in the division of cardiology and director of cardiac electrophysiology and arrhythmia services at Cooper University Health System in Camden, New Jersey. “Because AF can lead to serious consequences, including increasing the risk of stroke, it is critical individuals are empowered to speak with a healthcare professional about any symptoms they may have. No symptom or concern is too small or insignificant.”
“Bristol Myers Squibb and Pfizer are committed to supporting patient communities and our partnership with Kareem, alongside both professional and patient advocacy organisations, No Time to Wait is one way we are acting on this long-term commitment,” said Tom Garner, head of US cardiovascular and established brands, Bristol Myers Squibb. “By educating on the common symptoms, we believe we can help people better understand the disease and encourage important and timely conversations with a healthcare professional.”