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James Martin health: ‘This is a bit crazy’ TV chef discusses workload and its effects

Heart attack: Experts claim a vegan diet can 'help prevent' them

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James Martin could plausibly be described in many households as that gregarious guy that is always on in the background on a Saturday morning. James cut his teeth on a number of cookery shows before becoming the main presenter on Saturday Kitchen, a British cookery programme that combined gastronomy with James’ good-natured humour and celebrity guest appearances. Despite Saturday Kitchen’s popularity, James unexpectedly stepped down from presenting the show in 2016.

James appeared on Lose Woman to discuss his absenteeism from the show and how he needed to take a different stance regarding work.

He said: “Work was fundamental. But I was doing a gig abroad and I was chatting to a gentleman same age as me, similar work ethic.

“He went out on stage literally five minutes after I spoke to him to do an awards ceremony and he died before he hit the floor.”

The TV chef realised he needed to take a break not only mentally but physically too as the gentleman in question had in fact died from a heart attack.

James admitted at the time that he was a serial workaholic, the sobering episode caused him to “readdress the balance” in his life and take a break from TV to return back to his restaurant.

When James’ doctor told him they would need to operate, the realisation of his hectic workload became a reality.

He said: “You have to question it when your doctor says: ‘We’ve got to operate’ and you can’t find a date in your diary.

“When you can’t fit in a date to have even a doctor’s appointment or a surgery, you think, hold on a minute, this is a bit nuts.

“I don’t mind working, but this is a bit crazy.”

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Spending long hours at work can raise blood pressure, studies show.

Over time, this can damage the heart and arteries, and cause cardiovascular disease. 

In a study published in the University College London, the relationship between working hours and heart attack risk in over 600,000 workers, as well as similar data on stroke risk in over 500,000 workers was investigated.

The study found that those who worked more than 55 hours per week had a 13 percent greater risk of a heart attack, and were 33 percent more likely to suffer a stroke, compared with those who worked 35-40 hours per week.

What is a heart attack?

A heart attack is a medical emergency caused by a sudden loss of blood flow to a part of the heart muscle, explains British Heart Foundation.

While symptoms vary from person to person, the main warning signs include:

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

Feeling sick, sweaty, light-headed or short of breath.

According to the British Heart Foundation (BHF), it’s possible to have a heart attack without experiencing all these symptoms, and it’s important to remember everyone experiences pain differently.

“For some people the pain or tightness in their chest is severe, while other people just feel uncomfortable, or pain similar to indigestion,” explains the BHF.

As the health body explains, heart attack symptoms can persist over days, or they can come on suddenly and unexpectedly.

A common misconception is that men and women experience different symptoms when having a heart attack.

“While symptoms vary from person to person, there are no symptoms that women experience more or less often than men,” explains the BHF.

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