Krishnan Guru-Murthy, 53, has revealed his genetic heart condition could make his Strictly participance potentially life-threatening.
The Channel 4 star suffers from hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM for short, which refers to a disease of the heart muscle.
The condition causes the muscle wall of the heart to thicken, making the heart muscle stiff, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) explains.
The genetic condition, which has sadly killed two of Krishnan’s cousins, is triggered by a change or mutation in one or more genes and is mostly passed on through families.
It makes it harder for the heart to pump blood out of the heart and around the body, so it could impede the presenter’s progress on the show.
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He told The Sun: “The basic advice is, I’ve got to keep my heart out of the red zone, which is the last 15 percent of your heart rate.
“So, I’ve got to keep my heart rate below about 140, and I don’t know whether you can do that or not, in a 90-second very fast dance.
“My cardiologist basically said, ‘I can’t give you a hundred percent guarantee that you won’t drop dead, but you’ll be fine’.
“The Charleston will be a challenge, but we’ll see.”
Krishnan’s condition means the BBC will have a defibrillator on standby.
He added: “I have to listen to my body. I have that condition Elvis had and footballers have when they can suddenly drop.
“The task for me is more about training and not raising my heart level for longer periods of time than a two-minute dance. There will be a defibrillator for me.
“I have a heart condition but it doesn’t mean you can’t do Strictly.”
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According to the BHF, the tell-tale signs of HCM include the following:
- Chest pain
- Lightheadedness and fainting
- Shortness of breath.
The charity explains that most people with the condition feel stable throughout their life, but some find that their symptoms get worse in later life.
This can occur when the heart muscle becomes stiffer, making it harder for the heart to pump.
Krishnan added that he has found the start of training overwhelming. The dad-of-two said: “My mantra is now trying to be – don’t think. And my dance partner keeps saying, ‘Just dance, don’t think’.
“If you think while you’re dancing, you’re dead, and if you think about what you’re doing, you’re going to be overwhelmed.
“And it’s very easy to be overwhelmed, because everything about Strictly is overwhelming: the lights, the costumes, just the number of people in the room, the scale of the thing, so you just don’t think about it, you just go with it.”
Strictly Come Dancing will begin this Saturday at 6.35pm on BBC One.
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