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Last Updated: Sunday, 11 February 2007, 23:14 GMT
Celebrity Health - Channi Singh
Channi Singh
Channi Singh thought his heart problems were indigestion
In a series on celebrities and their health, the BBC News website talks to Channi Singh, generally recognised as the Godfather of Punjabi Bhangra music in the West.

Channi, 52, is the founder, lead singer, producer and director of the group Alaap. He made Punjabi music among the Punjabi youth in UK when he formed his group in 1977.

He has received a lifetime achievement for Punjabi music from BBC Radio's Punjabi Programme and another from the UK Asian Music Award Committee.

He talks for the first time about his heart attack.

HOW DID YOU FIRST REALISE SOMETHING WAS WRONG?

I had some pains that were quite bad.

I thought at first it was to do with my indigestion and they remained for about 10 minutes.

Dial 999 and call for an ambulance. You can't judge yourself what the problem is
Channi Singh

I took some indigestion medicine and walked around the house for about 10 minutes and then the pains disappeared.

I was completely alone when it happened as my wife and daughter were out.

When I told my wife about it later she asked why had I not called her, but I had just thought it might be my ulcer.

HOW DID YOU GET DIAGNOSED?

I went to see my GP for a routine check-up a few days later and told him about the pains.

He told me that I had high blood pressure. He said he wanted me to have an electrocardiogram (ECG) of my heart and sent me to the hospital.

It came back abnormal and the doctor asked me to go on the treadmill to reassure me.

View of heart
Channi needed two stents

They said there was a 10% chance of there being something wrong.

Then the doctor asked me to have an angiogram - an X-ray of blood vessels which shows narrowed arteries - done.

It was then that they found that two of my arteries were 80%-90% blocked and that they needed to put in a stent (a mesh tube).

They said I had a silent heart attack, which had not done any damage, which was lucky.

It only lasted about 10 minutes, but during that time it was difficult to breathe.

I did not know what was happening, but now I know the signs and tell other people.

WHAT WAS YOUR REACTION TO THE DIAGNOSIS?

I am quite a positive person and I am quite an active person, even on stage.

I also jog and run and do exercises.

So I thought to myself that things were going to be OK.

WHAT WAS YOUR TREATMENT?

The treatment, which I had four or five years ago, was putting two stents into two of my arteries to keep them open.

I had to go back three years later to get them done again, but the stents they use today are specially drug-coated so they will not need replacing again.

HOW DID YOU FEEL DURING THE TREATMENT?

I was awake and able to watch the wire being put into my groin with all the dye that goes into it.

It was interesting watching it go into the arteries and the small veins.

HOW DO YOU FEEL NOW?

Now I am fine. I do my yoga and my jogging and I feel fine.

WHAT IS YOUR MESSAGE TO OTHER PEOPLE WITH THE SAME CONDITION?

My message is that if you have anything like this don't sit idle.

Dial 999 and call for an ambulance. You can't judge yourself what the problem is, that is the job of the professionals.

It is a big problem in the South Asian community and there are people trying to get the message across about the risks.

They are taking their message to the temples and the community centres.

Channi Singh is promoting the work of the British Heart Foundation.


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