Steve Pemberton health: Star made huge lifestyle changes after heart attack – ‘I lost 2st’

Inside No.9: Steve Pemberton stars in creepy series five teaser

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Recalling his health ordeal, Pemberton explained that he was a young actor working in a theatre company in Germany, when he suddenly started to feel unwell. He was told by doctors that he had had a myocardial infarction, another term for a heart attack. Strangely however, when the actor returned to the UK, doctors could find no trace of what caused the condition in the first place. In an interview back in 2012, Pemberton addressed the mystery about his condition, he said: “When I got back to the UK and had other tests they couldn’t find any trace of it so I still don’t really know what happened.”

The NHS explains that a heart attack is a serious medical emergency in which the supply of blood to the heart is suddenly blocked.

This blockage is usually caused by a blood clot, which develops due to a build-up of plaque in the arteries. When a plaque breaks (ruptures), a blood clot quickly forms.

During a heart attack, the blood and oxygen supply is cut off so muscle cells of the heart begin to suffer damage and start to die. Irreversible damage begins within 30 minutes of blockage.

Due to the severe nature of a heart attack, it is important to know the signs and symptoms, which include the following:

  • Chest pain – a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest
  • Pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is spreading from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and tummy
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety (similar to a panic attack)
  • Coughing or wheezing.

Although chest pain is often severe, some people may only experience minor pain, similar to indigestion. In addition, women are more likely to have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling or being sick and back or jaw pain.

If you think you or someone you know is having a heart attack, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) suggests doing the following:

  • Call 999 for an ambulance
  • Sit down and stay calm
  • Take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within reach
  • Wait for the paramedics.

Once in hospital, treatments for a heart attack often involve methods that get blood flowing back to the heart muscle again. Other treatments, like a coronary angioplasty, are able to reduce the amount of permanent damage to the heart.

A coronary angioplasty re-opens the blocked coronary artery by inserting one or more stents to help keep the narrowed artery open. Although a common treatment after heart attacks, other forms of treatment can include: thrombolysis, which involves giving individuals “clot-busting medicine” to dissolve the blood clot that’s blocking the coronary artery. Or coronary bypass surgery, which helps to restore normal blood flow by using a blood vessel from your leg, arm or chest in your heart to bypass the blocked artery.

Continuing to talk about his own experience, Pemberton went on to say: “I’m OK, though, touch wood. Everything is fine.”

Following his health scare and suspected heart attack, the actor lost an impressive two stone by making drastic changes to both his lifestyle and daily diet.

He went on to say: “I’m aware of what happened to me and have regular check-ups. I lost two stone last year by dieting and taking up jogging.

“I was writing episodes of Benidorm and was finally able to manage my time to fit in the exercise.

“As you get older the things that really scare you are the thoughts of anything bad happening to your family… and your own mortality.”

As previously mentioned, one of the main causes of heart attack is coronary heart disease (CHD) – where the major blood vessels that supply the heart with blood become clogged with deposits of cholesterol – and those who are more at risk of developing CHD are those who:

  • Smoke
  • Eat a high-fat diet
  • Diabetics
  • Have high cholesterol
  • Have high blood pressure
  • Are overweight.

Therefore, the main things individuals can do to reduce their risk of having a heart attack involves dramatic lifestyle changes and monitoring any prior health conditions.

Eating healthily, being physically active and cutting down on alcohol are three of the top suggestions from the British Heart Foundation (BHF) that individuals can make to reduce their risk of heart attacks.

The NHS adds that eating an unhealthy diet that is high in fat will make hardening of the arteries (atherosclerosis) worse and increase your risk of a heart attack. Foods high in saturated fat include:

  • Pies
  • Fried foods
  • Sausages and fatty cuts of meat
  • Butter
  • Ghee (a type of butter often used in Indian cooking)
  • Lard
  • Cream
  • Hard cheese
  • Cakes and biscuits
  • Foods that contain coconut or palm oil.

Therefore, individuals should aim to eat a Mediterranean-style diet which includes bread, fruit, fish and less meat. Replacing butter and cheese with products based on vegetable and plant oil, such as olive oil, are also ways to eat a healthy diet.

Low-impact activities such as walking, swimming and cycling are also recommended. More strenuous activities, such as playing football and squash, may only be suitable for some individuals, and not for those who may have already suffered from a heart attack.

Men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 units of alcohol a week. This is equivalent to six pints of average-strength beer, or 10 small glasses of low-strength wine. Regularly exceeding the recommended alcohol limits raises your blood pressure and cholesterol level, increasing your risk of a heart attack.

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