Captain Sanjiv Bhalla, 57, a pilot with a domestic airline got a wake-up call during his regular medical check-up when doctors found major blocks in three arteries of his heart.
In August 2010, Dr Ramakant Panda, vice chairman and cardiovascular-thoracic surgeon at Asian Heart Institute (AHI), Banda-Kurla Complex conducted eight grafts on the blocks in his three arteries.
With the encouragement of his doctors, he started going for runs and even participated in a seven kilometre dream run in the Mumbai Marathon in 2011 and 2012. This year he will be running the 21-km half marathon.
“Now I enjoy running. My endurance is better. I have quit smoking, do yoga and also control my eating. This disease has given me a chance to run,” said Bhalla.
Bhalla covers about four to five km every morning, and about 10-12 km once every week. Bhalla had already completed 20 km run last week while practicing for the half marathon.
Not all cardiac patients are advised to run by way of exercise. “If the patient has a low heart pumping rate, we do not advise such patients to run. In Bhalla’s case, his parameters are normal,” said his cardiologist, Dr Nilesh Gautam who practices at AHI.
Dr Gautam added that heart patients preparing for the marathon should stop running if they experience symptoms of undue heaviness in the chest, giddiness, sudden perspiration and seek medical assistance immediately.