Debbie Allen: Heart Problems and Fibromyalgia

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Debbie Allen Heart Problems and Fibromyalgia

Debbie Allen is an American actress, dancer and choreographer who is best known for performing in the 1982 musical television series “Fame”, for being a judge on “So You Think You Can Dance?” and for being a member of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities.

She is also well known for suffering from diabetes, and it is strongly rumored that she has suffered from chronic pain, and fibromyalgia in particular, as well.  However, Allen has never confirmed nor denied the rumors.

Even so, Allen’s case is an interesting one, as it highlights some of the similarities and also some of the differences between fibromyalgia, heart problems and diabetes.

Allen has opened up to news and other media multiple times about how she deals with diabetes, but again, she has remained very elusive on the fact as to whether or not she also suffers from fibromyalgia.

Heart Problems, Diabetes and Fibromyalgia

Diabetes is a metabolic disease characterized by high levels of blood sugar over a long period of time. Symptoms of high blood sugar levels include an increased hunger and thirst, as well as constant urination.

If diabetes is not treated quickly or carefully enough, it can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, ulcers and even a loss of vision over time.

Allen suffers from both diabetes and heart problems, so the heart issue that she has most likely stemmed from her diabetes.

Fibromyalgia is widespread chronic pain throughout the body, however, it is not just limited to pain. Those who suffer from fibromyalgia also suffer from fatigue, stiffness in the joins and a very difficult time sleeping.

Secondary characteristics of fibromyalgia include bowel problems, difficulty with swallowing, difficulty with thinking, anxiety, depression and even stress disorder.

Fibromyalgia will be diagnosed as fibromyalgia by a doctor since there are 11 main different pressure points throughout the body: on the neck, chest, shoulders, upper and lower back and hips.

If pressure is applied to these pressure points, pain will result. Someone can then be officially diagnosed with fibromyalgia if they feel pain from a majority of these pressure points.

Currently, it is unknown if Allen suffers pain in these pressure points.  Nonetheless, there are still valid reasons for why people suspect she may suffer from fibromyalgia and not just diabetes and heart issues.

Debbie Allen Heart Problems and Fibromyalgia


Allen has spent much of the latter part of her career spreading awareness for many of the same health problems that she has. A pacemaker is a small device that is placed on the chest in order to control the beating of the heart.

The pacemaker is able to accomplish this by using electrical pulses to get the heart to beat normally.

Pacemakers have been found to have a very beneficial effect on people who suffer from heart problems.  It can cause them to feel less fatigue and gets their heart beating back on a proper rhythm so they can perform more active and physical daily activities.

The heart has an electrical system inside the body that controls the beats. When the heart beats, and electrical signal is sent all throughout your heart.  This signal causes the heart to pump blood.

When the heart isn’t beating properly, this causes less electrical signals to be sent throughout the heart, which in turn means it can’t pump blood at the proper rate that it should.

This causes a multitude of problems: you can feel significantly more tired, become much more exhausted after basic activities, and also not feel the energy to run or jump or similar exercises.

Allen felt many of these symptoms and problems from her own heart issues, which compelled her to spread awareness about millions of people such as herself who are living with a pacemaker.

Allen has been quick to point out that health problems such as diabetes and heart issues run in her family, and that many of them had pacemakers.

What’s inspiring about Allen is how she is using her celebrity status to spread awareness about an issue that is clearly affecting her in her personal life.

In multiple interviews, she has yielded her experiences with seeing her friends and close family members enduring the same health problems that she took on later in life.

Despite being a judge on dancing reality shows and directing many TV episodes for the popular show “Grey’s Anatomy”, she has had to make many changes in her life due to the diabetes and heart issues.

This has been especially challenging considering how she has been a dancer and physically active her whole life,

The Fibromyalgia Rumors

Many people have strongly suspected that Allen also suffers from fibromyalgia since she has reported suffering from some symptoms that fall in line with fibromyalgia, such as fatigue and chronic pain that prevents one from wanting to get up out of bed every day.

When pressed on the question, Allen has continuously elected to either ignore the question completely or give a different answer. It could be that she just wants to focus on spreading awareness about heart issues, since many people in her family suffer from it.

She also likely wants to focus on spreading awareness about diabetes. Her father died early due to diabetes, and African-Americans as a whole are disproportionately affected by it.

Since there are no records of anyone else in her family suffering from fibromyalgia, it’s very plausible that she wants to focus on the health issues that her family has endured.

This alone is very admirable, as it displays Allen’s commitment to her family and bringing the world’s attention to the issues that her family has faced.

Fortunately for now, Allen has reported to be improving due to changes in her nutrition, a positive attitude and a willingness to not be afraid to share about the struggles she has gone through.

Only time will tell if she chooses to clarify if she suffers from fibromyalgia as well.

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