The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Genes undo hours at gym

Mumbai, Feb. 19: Saif Ali Khan may have his genes to blame for failing to avoid — for all his gym schedules and careful diet — an illness usually associated with obesity and lack of exercise.

Sources in Mumbai’s Lilavati Hospital confirmed today that the 36-year-old actor had last evening suffered a myocardial infarction — a heart attack — that gave him chest pain after a strenuous bout of rehearsals for a stage performance.

“The ECG revealed irregular heartbeat, suggesting mild myocardial infarction. The angiography did not reveal any blockages. We are doing more tests,” said one of the cardiologists attending to Saif at the intensive cardiac care unit.

“If all the test results are okay, the doctors may consider letting him go in two-three days,” the hospital spokesperson said.

City cardiologist Dr P.S. Soni said a myocardial infarction can happen for many reasons, but family history tops the list and stress is a close second. Sister Soha Ali Khan has already said Saif was overworked.

A friend of the Pataudis said the family has a history of heart ailments.

“Saif’s grandfather Iftikhar Ali Khan Pataudi, who played Test cricket for England and later led the Indian team, died of a heart attack while playing golf in 1952. He was only 42.”

Dr Soni said several other factors — such as abdominal obesity, smoking, poor diet, lack of exercise and drug abuse — can contribute to a heart attack. “The condition results from a lack of blood supply to parts of the heart. A recent study shows that more and more people in their 30s and 40s are falling victim.”

Saif is on a liquid diet of juices and soups. “He is cheerful and is keeping the doctors charmed with his subtle sense of humour,” the friend said.

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