Mumbai: Ignored, 32-year-old cricket coach's hypertension almost kills him

Updated: Jan 18, 2020, 09:28 IST | Vinod Kumar Menon | Mumbai

Operated in December for a huge blood clot in the brain, he remains bed-ridden; doctors say more young people are coming with complains of high blood pressure.

Chayya, 65, helps his son Virendra Potdar, who is bed-ridden since his operation in December 2019, sit up, at their Dadar residence on Friday. Pic/Ashish Raje
Chayya, 65, helps his son Virendra Potdar, who is bed-ridden since his operation in December 2019, sit up, at their Dadar residence on Friday. Pic/Ashish Raje

For 32-year-old Virendra Potdar, life is not the same these days; instead of coaching young cricketers at Shivaji Park in Dadar, he is spending his days on his bed at home, taking physiotherapy sessions and popping pills. Potdar is a classic case of essential hypertension (without cause) and needed a life-saving brain surgery last year to remove a large haemorrhagic blood clot in the right side of his brain, causing temporary weakness on his left side of the body and a weak bladder.

Potdar is among the many young people, for whom hypertension has become a major concern recently, particularly because of poor lifestyle, said the doctors. The number of people consulting doctors with complains of high blood pressure has also increased, they added. Potdar, a resident of Kohinoor Mill Compound in Dadar East, was a coach at Kamath Memorial Cricket Academy and umpired cricket matches. On the fateful evening, in the first week of December, he went to Andheri to collect his fee for umpiring a cricket tournament and went to pick up a friend, Rohini R, 30, who was also in Andheri for work.

The CT scan image shows the clot before the surgery
The CT scan image shows the clot before the surgery

'Collapsed within seconds'
"When Potdar arrived to pick me up, I noticed he looked pale and his lips were twisting to one side when he spoke. Seconds after getting off the bike, he collapsed,' said Rohini. "With the help of locals, I rushed him to a nearby clinic, which advised us to shift him to Criti Care hospital, where we learnt that he had a hemorrhagic stroke and his condition was serious," she added.

The Criti Care doctors operated on him the same day. Dr Shashank Joshi, consulting neurosurgeon at Criti Care, said, "Potdar was brought in an unconscious state, and on coma scale he was measuring around 5 out of 15 (usually a patient with 3 score is declared brain dead). His blood pressure was 220mmHg by 120 mmHg instead of normal range of 120mmHG by 80mmHG. A CT scan confirmed a blood clot of 6 cm by 7 cm, and we had to operate on him the same night." "The two-hour-long surgery was successful, but he was on ventilator for nearly 48 hours," he added.

'Regret not taking meds'
Potdar told mid-day that he was diagnosed with hypertension about a year ago and was prescribed a medicine. "But I did not take it regularly, which I regret," he said.

"I am missing the ground and I do not know how long will I be on the bed. My mother Chayya, 65, is taking care of me. My father Ramesh, 70, himself underwent a surgery for his fractured leg two months back," said Potdar. Doctors said he will need another two to three months to get back on his feet.

Dr Joshi admitted that it was indeed shocking that young people these days are coming with untreated hypertension problem, which could be risky.

'Change your lifestyle'
Neurosurgeons and neurologists in the city say that the young people should not ignore the early signs of hypertension and that it might be due to some underlying renal or
hormonal issue.

Dr P P Ashok, consulting neurologist and head of the department (neurology) at P D Hinduja hospital, said, "High blood pressure typically is very common in people above 50 years of age, which is usually due to ageing and hardening of the blood vessels. But nowadays, we are seeing young patients with hypertension."

Dr Ashok attributed the condition in young people to "fast and stressful lifestyle — long working hours, lack of sleep, eating junk food containing preservatives and salt, lack of physical activities and stress. It is high time that the young people change their lifestyle, which is key a healthy life."

Dr Shraddha Maheshwari, neurosurgeon, Cooper hospital said, "On an average, every week I see five to seven patients aged above 30 years showing symptoms of high blood pressure, and the number is increasing drastically. These young people need to be extra cautious as untreated hypertension can cause hemorrhagic stroke and can become life threatening."

Warning signs and prevention

Most of the time high blood pressure doesn't cause any symptoms. In rare cases, severe high blood pressure can cause headaches, blurry vision, dizziness, nosebleeds, a fluttering or racing heartbeat along with nausea. If you think you have hypertension or any of these symptoms, get medical care right away. Doctors advise to eat healthy — more fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, — limit salt, and avoid caffeine and alcohol and tobacco. Exercising at least three times a week is good for health, but strength training is a big no for teenagers with hypertension.

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