Heart attack is a real lifesaver for dad Ben
A DAD of four believes that a heart attack has saved his life.
It all began when 17st Ben Ingall, 43, decided to lose some weight and went out for a run.
Two hours later he was on the operating table being fitted with a stent in his coronary artery after suffering a heart attack.
The former architecture CAD technician said the episode was a warning shot.
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"After the op I thought, 'thank God I am still alive'," he said.
"It really puts life into focus. Life is short. It's not all about getting up at 5am and working."
His wife Jo described the heart attack as a massive reality check which she had thought could leave their children fatherless.
"He could have died," she said. "I was really upset; we are in the prime of our lives with four children.
"Every moment of every day I used to think I could have lost him. I could be in a very different situation now, I could be sitting here with my four kids and no husband."
Two months after the operation, Ben's heart rate was still not recovering as expected, dropping as low as 25 beats per minute at night.
Jo said: "I didn't sleep properly because he used to get really cold and he used to have these gasps of breath and I used to think he was dying."
In October, he was fitted with a pacemaker and, with the help of the British Heart Foundation (BHF) team, started swim training in March.
In June and July, less than one year after his heart attack, Ben completed two gruelling sponsored swims, raising almost £2,500 for the charity which helped him to cut down on drinking, to eat more healthily and to take regular exercise.
"I lost three and a half stone, changed my eating, drinking and smoking habits and started regular exercise.
"I then set myself an ambitious goal to raise money for the BHF by swimming 5.3km down a river," he said.
Ben's grandfather and father both had pacemakers fitted and his uncle died from heart disease aged just 55.
"It makes you re-address your lifestyle and habits. You realise what is important, like family and enjoying life."