THE leader of Pendle Borough Council has spoken out about living with heart failure after having an operation to help save his life.

Conservative councillor Paul White underwent surgery at Airedale Hospital in West Yorkshire on Tuesday to have a defibrillator fitted after he was diagnosed with heart failure just over a year ago.

The 31-year old said he feels like the luckiest man alive, and is now urging other young people to go and get their hearts checked.

Mr White said: “I was diagnosed with heart failure 12 months ago but kept it fairly quiet while my family and I tried to come to terms with it.

“I received treatment and was put on an exercise regime but unfortunately my condition didn’t improve so doctors suggested I have the defibrillator fitted.”

Surgeons fitted the defibrillator to Mr White’s chest, which acts like a normal defibrillator by reading his heart rhythm, sending a shock to his heart should it detect signs it is about to fail.

He said: “Now I’ve accepted I’m living with heart failure I’ve started to talk about it more.

“When I first went to the doctors they told me I was suffering from anxiety but I knew it was more sinister than that, so I persisted with them and finally got a diagnosis.

“I want people to know that if they feel something is not right they should go and get properly checked.

“When you hear of footballers dropping dead on the pitch, that’s what I’m at risk of, so go and ask to be checked, again and again.”

After his diagnosis, Mr White continued to live life as he had previously, working long hours, attending council meetings and running a successful marketing agency.

He said: “I also want people to know that if you’re diagnosed with heart failure it doesn’t have to mean the end.

“I want to prove that you can have heart failure and still live a normal life.”

The operation cost around £10,000, which Mr White says is less than it would’ve cost the NHS had he suffered a heart attack and had to be treated.

He said: “I’m very fortunate to have had this operation and the all staff at the hospital were amazing.

“I feel like the luckiest man alive."

“The fact this type of operation is available on the NHS shows just how valuable our health service is.”