Lord Alan Sugar health: Billionaire, 75, on his life-threatening condition- ‘It was scary’
The Apprentice: Lord Alan Sugar hires Stella in 2010
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Sir Alan became a billionaire back in 2015 and in 2021 his fortune was estimated to be worth around £1.21 billion, making him the 138th richest person in the UK. Yet to achieve such a level of success, it takes continuous hard work and determination, which can sometimes come at the expense of one’s health. Sir Alan had personal experience of this back in 2017 when he suffered from a frightening health scare, due to a condition that doctors said is hereditary.
With no evidence to suggest that his health scare was down to his commitment to his work, Sir Alan revealed more details about his ordeal when appearing on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories.
Despite being in pain after a bike ride, Sugar’s wife Ann thought that the business tycoon was being a “hypochondriac” but soon after visiting his GP, Ann was shocked to find out that Sir Alan needed emergency medical treatment.
“[Ann] came with me and she said, ‘What are we doing wasting our bleeding time here? You are a b* hypochondriac. There is nothing wrong with you. You have got a little tweak over there and a little pain. We are standing here wasting blooming time,’” Sir Alan explained to Piers.
“I said, ‘Don’t worry. I just want to check it out.’
“Anyway I go and have this thing and see the doctor, who is reading the scans, and the pair of us nearly passed out because he said to me, ‘You better go straight to A&E.’
“It was dangerous. He said it was on something called the widow’s. It was scary. Ann was shocked by it all, like I was.
“I understand why she felt I was being a bit of a hypo.
“That morning Ann and I went out on the tandem. We rode 25 miles.”
What doctor’s had discovered was that Sir Alan had been suffering from a blocked left anterior descending (LAD) artery, also known as a “widowmaker”.
The condition can prove to be life-threatening as a build up of plaque or a blood clot starves the heart of blood and oxygen, potentially leading to a heart attack.
When asked by Piers if he could have died, Sir Alan replied, “well, maybe”, indicating the seriousness of the condition.
Dr Carol Cooper revealed more about the “widowmaker” at the time, writing in The Sun: “The ‘widowmaker’ artery is a name sometimes given to one of the coronary arteries that carries vital blood to the heart.
“It is the main pipeline to the left side of the heart and if it becomes blocked, it is almost always fatal without emergency treatment. The symptoms of a widowmaker heart attack are the same as any other heart attack, with chest pain that may or may not travel down the left arm or up into the throat.
“The pain of a heart attack is often severe and crushing in nature, and there can be sweating and shortness of breath, too.
“But not everyone gets typical symptoms. Treatment may involve putting in a stent – a tiny tube – in the artery to keep it open and free flowing, or heart surgery to bypass the blockage.”
Sir Alan was fitted with a stent after his health scare, and was quickly back on his feet being discharged from the hospital the day after the operation.
His spokesman Andrew Bloch said at the time that Sir Alan was “on the mend within a day and cleared to resume exercise after a week”.
“He’s in perfect medical health and plays tennis and rides his bike for 40 miles regularly,” Bloch added.
Johns Hopkins Medicine explains that coronary stents are now used in nearly all procedures known as an angioplasty. Once in place, the stent will start to be coated with tissue, like a layer of new skin, and within three to 12 months it shall be fully lined with tissue.
Individuals who have had an angioplasty may also be prescribed anti-sickness medication called antiplatelets, which stops bleeding and prevents blood clots forming inside the stent.
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