Bob Mortimer health: The star’s ‘terrible’ symptom led to a bizarre habit

Bob Mortimer reflects on having open heart surgery

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The comedian had to undergo heart surgery back in 2015 after his doctor told him he was at serious risk of having a heart attack. In fact, 95 percent of the star’s arteries were blocked and if he had carried on he could have collapsed on stage. The triple bypass came at the right time for Bob, as did the fishing show which was originally planned as a therapy plan for him to recover.

Living with his clogged arteries made Bob experience some bizarre and uncharacteristic symptoms.

Talking on the Jools Holland and Jim Moir’s Joyride podcast the star revealed that he had a terrible habit of sleeping in his car and even kept a duvet and pillow in the back of his mercedes.

Bob claimed that he toured various locations to find the best spot for a car slumber and one car park near the Tunbridge Wells Cineworld was “perfection”.

He added: “I had a duvet in there for the winter months – a big soppy white one, that got a bit stained and wasn’t suitable for home use any more.

“The biggest problem with car sleep is light – I used to have a snood I put over my head.”

The British Heart Foundation states that extreme fatigue is one of the most common symptoms of heart failure as well as other conditions. Individuals may feel tired most of the time and also find exercise exhausting.

Bob admitted that his “terrible malaise was partly to do with [his] heart”, but it wasn’t the only bad habit he had fallen into.

Due to his condition the star is meant to stick to a healthy diet. This is one of the main ways in which you can minimise the risk of a heart attack and coronary heart disease.

However, Bob admitted that one classic picnic snack is still his guilty pleasure. Talking about scotch eggs he said: “Because I’m not meant to eat saturated fats, I take half the sausage meat off and throw it into the footwell.”

It is these habits that lead to his car – the boot especially as Bob confesses – being an “absolute disgrace”.

Along with fatigue, breathlessness and swollen ankles and legs are also common symptoms of heart failure.

Less common symptoms include the following:

  • A persistent cough, which may be worse at night
  • Wheezing
  • A bloated tummy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight gain or weight loss
  • Confusion
  • Dizziness and fainting
  • A fast heart rate
  • A pounding, fluttering or irregular heartbeat (palpitations).

As with many heart conditions, chest pain is a tell-tale sign that something is not right. Professor David Newby explained: “If you have chest pain and you feel extremely unwell, you should dial 999 and get an ambulance as soon as possible. If it’s a heart attack, it’s usually described as a heaviness, tightness or pressure in the chest; people will often describe it as ‘an elephant sat on my chest’ or ‘it felt like a tight band around my chest,’ that sort of constricting feeling.

“If chest pains occur when you are exerting yourself, but goes away when you stop, that would suggest it’s more likely to be angina. That would still mean you should go and see a doctor, but you don’t have to call 999.

“The word ‘angina’ actually means ‘choking’, and sometimes the tightness or pain can be up in the throat. People tend to describe a ‘restricting’ or ‘choking’ sensation.” If the feeling continues, and you haven’t previously been diagnosed with a heart problem, you should call NHS 111 – but if you have some of the other signs listed here as well, it might be safer to call an ambulance”.

As with Bob and his diet, there are many different ways in which you can lower your risk of heart disease.

This includes the following:

  • Controlling blood pressure
  • Controlling cholesterol levels
  • Staying a healthy weight
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Getting regular exercise
  • Limiting alcohol
  • Not smoking
  • Managing stress
  • Managing diabetes
  • Getting enough sleep.

Coronary heart disease can be treated if lifestyle changes do not seem to be working.

This includes a mixture of medicines such as statins, beta blockers, nitrates and angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors. All of these aim to either thin the blood or make it easier for it to flow round the body, so your heart does not have to work as hard.

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