Paul O’Grady health: Star ‘amazed he is still standing’ after fearing he would die

What's the difference between a heart attack and cardiac arrest?

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The 66-year-old has learnt, perhaps in the hardest way possible, to never take life for granted after experiencing three heart attacks from 2002 to 2014. After losing both of his parents by the time he was 33, the star looked back on his own lifestyle, which was fuelled by booze, drugs and chain smoking, and decided to make some drastic changes. The star eventually gave up drinking alcohol, explaining that it is not death that he fears, but the way that he is going to die.

Talking in a previous interview with The Mirror, Paul has said: “I grew up overnight. It really did shake me and I’ve toed the line ever since.

“I’ve just sort of gone off booze. I didn’t even have a drink on my birthday last month.

“It’s not like the old days when I could neck ten pints of cider — now I’d be ill as a dog. The hangovers aren’t worth it.”

The star also opened up about losing his partner and close friend Brendan Murphy to cancer within his autobiography.

“It couldn’t get any worse,” Paul wrote.

“I looked like someone who shouldn’t bother coming home from the cemetery. My hair was coming out in cobs and I’d lost two-and-a-half stone. I looked like a hunched-up old man.

“To watch someone you love – a healthy, eloquent man – unable to speak or walk is hideous.”

This traumatic time in his life acted as even more motivation to give himself a health overhaul, and luckily for the star it seems to have worked, as he was given a “clear bill of health” at his latest check-up.

According to the Daily Star, Paul reported: “My cardiologist thought I should have a pacemaker, so he sent me to the specialist.

“I had the ECG and all that business – but the specialist said, ‘You don’t need the pacemaker. Whatever you’re doing, keep doing it.'”

Despite being given the all-clear, Paul still describes himself as a “time bomb” who has so far been lucky to overcome his health scares.

He said: “I’m a timebomb — a human version of the Titanic, forever dodging icebergs.”

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Heart attacks are extremely serious, and in some cases can be fatal. According to the British Heart Foundation, heart and circulatory disease cause a quarter of all deaths in the UK, that’s more than 160,000 deaths each year.

Out of the 30,000 who experience an out-of-hospital cardiac arrest, less than one in 10 survive, making heart attacks one of the deadliest conditions.

The Mayo Clinic explains that a heart attack occurs when the flow of blood to the heart is blocked. This blockage is most often caused by a buildup of fat, cholesterol and other substances.

Usually those who have a heart attack experience no other warning signs, but symptoms can include the following:

  • Pain or discomfort in your chest that happens suddenly and doesn’t go away
  • Pain that spreads to your left or right arm, or to your neck, jaw, back or stomach. For some People the pain or tightness is severe, while for others it’s uncomfortable. It may feel like heaviness, or a burning pain similar to indigestion
  • Feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

As symptoms such as chest pain can also be synonymous with indigestion, the NHS explains that it is important to look out for the combination of all of the above symptoms, to detect whether someone is suffering from a heart attack or not.

If you think yourself or someone you know is suffering from a heart attack you should immediately call for an ambulance. In addition the British Heart Foundation says to follow these steps:

  1. Sit down and stay calm
  2. Take a 300mg aspirin if you have one within reach
  3. Wait for the paramedics.

When in hospital, the main ways in which heart attacks are treated is either through medication to dissolve the blood clots, or surgery to restore blood to the heart.

After suffering from a heart attack, the NHS recommends changing your lifestyle as this will minimise your chances of having another attack. Eating a healthier diet, taking cholesterol-lowering medication such as statins, and quitting smoking can all help reduce this risk.

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