The Apprentice: Alan Sugar grills Tim Campbell in season one
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The 74-year-old business tycoon is once again on the hunt for a new recruit as The Apprentice returns to BBC1. Building up his fortune from humble beginnings in Hackney, the star, who was knighted back in 2000, now appears alongside aides Baroness Karren Brady and new addition to the series this year Tim Campbell, who was crowned the first ever winner of the series, in order to find a new recruit. Yet a sobering event back when the star was holidaying in the USA saw Sir Alan’s health take a worrying turn. What happened to the star?
The former Tottenham Hot Spurs chairman revealed that soon after completing a 25-mile tandem bike ride with his wife Ann Sugar, he was being rushed to hospital.
After experiencing some pain after the bike ride, Alan went for a health check which included an angiogram and other heart tests.
Speaking about the ordeal on Piers Morgan’s Life Stories back in 2019, Alan said that at first his wife Ann accused him of being a “b* hypochondriac,” saying that a trip to the doctors was a waste of time, but little did they both know, that trip to the doctors potentially saved the star’s life.
“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’,” Alan explained to Piers.
“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 hypochondriac. That morning Ann and I went out on the tandem. We rode 25 miles.”
When asked by Piers if he could have died, Alan replied: “Well, maybe” indicating the seriousness of the condition.
Alan’s doctor had discovered that the star was suffering from what is known as a “widowmaker”- a blocked artery in layman’s terms.
Medical News Today explains that a widowmaker is commonly a heart attack that has been caused by a blood clot or plaque deposit completely blocking the left anterior descending (LAD) artery.
The LAD artery is the largest coronary artery and supplies over half of the heart muscle with blood, twice as much as other coronary arteries. It is for this reason that the condition is given the name widowmaker in the first place.
Symptoms of blocked coronary arteries tend not to appear at first, however as plaque builds up you may start to develop serious side effects such as:
- Chest pain (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Heart attack.
A widowmaker heart attack, as it is referred to by Medical News Today, is similar to other heart attacks, but can potentially be more dangerous due to the sheer size of the LAD artery.
Typical symptoms of the heart attack include:
- Chest pain or discomfort
- Shortness of breath
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat
- Pain in the arms or shoulder
- Pain that radiates into the legs, back, neck, or jaw
- Feeling light-headed or weak
- Fainting or sudden cardiac arrest
- Excessive sweating
Luckily for Alan, his health scare was not as major as it could have been. After having surgery to fit a stent into his artery, the star was remarkably given the all clear within a week.
John Hopkins Medicine explains that coronary stents are now used in nearly all procedures known as angioplasty. The expandable metal mesh coil is put into the newly opened area of the artery to help keep the artery from narrowing or closing again.
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 received an angioplasty may also be prescribed anti-sickness medication called antiplatelets, which stop bleeding and prevent blood clots forming inside the stent.
Lord Sugar’s spokesman, Andrew Bloch commented: “This minor procedure included the fitting of a stent. Lord Sugar was on the mend within a day and cleared to resume exercise after a week.
“He is in perfect medical health. For the avoidance of doubt, he did not have a heart attack and his heart is in perfect condition.”
However, after his ordeal Alan vowed to lose weight by eating less, and still stuck to a rigorous exercise routine of 40 mile bike rides and regularly playing tennis.
The Mayo Clinic explains that the best lifestyle changes you can make to prevent a heart attack, or artery blockage from occurring includes the following:
- Quit smoking.
- Control conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and diabetes.
- Stay physically active.
- Eat a low-fat, low-salt diet that’s rich in fruits, vegetables and whole grains.
- Maintain a healthy weight.
- Reduce and manage stress.
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