A Harrow woman has given a shocking account of her surprise heart disease diagnosis after she felt out of breath and had a persistent cough.
Sadhana Press, 62, had ignored the symptoms which she put down to getting older or her weight and was reluctant to visit the GP.
The warning comes as Public Health England (PHE) launches a new campaign to raise awareness of lung cancer and heart disease, which can both cause symptoms of regular coughing and breathlessness.
'I was struggling to walk'
Sadhana, a manager at an Indian restaurant in Harrow, said: “In the past I have felt breathless going up the stairs or getting in and out of the car but I made a lot of excuses. I put it down to being overweight and getting older.
“However, when I was on holiday I knew something was wrong, I was struggling to walk on flat surfaces.”
Public Health England has warned that anyone experiencing these symptoms should see their GP as early diagnosis can make conditions easier to treat.
When she returned from holiday Sadhana visited her GP who referred her to hospital for an X-ray and echocardiogram, which showed she had heart disease.
'I was very frightened, worried and upset'
She said: “I was very worried, frightened and upset. I thought I was healthy so the diagnosis came as a shock to me.
“I felt unsure going to the GP when I felt breathless but the outcome could have been worse if I had ignored the symptom.”
Sadhana was referred to a specialist and was given a series of successful treatments and two years on her symptoms have improved.
Visit your GP
GP Dr Jyoti Sood, who also features in the PHE campaign, said: “Symptoms like a persistent cough or getting out of breath easily could be signs of lung cancer, lung disease and heart disease that can be easy to ignore.
“The sooner these three big diseases are spotted and patients start treatment, the greater the chances to save lives and help people manage these conditions.”
Sadhana added: “My goal is to be more active so that I can be as independent as possible. I want to be able to play more with my grandchildren and have a better life, I know it will take time but it will come.”