James Martin health: TV chef feared he may have a heart attack – signs to spot

In a candid interview on ITV’s Loose Women, James Martin admitted “work was fundamental” to him, but a traumatic incident shook him to his very core, directing him to a more easy way of life. “I was doing a gig abroad,” he told the panellist, “and I was chatting to a gentleman same age as me, similar work ethic”. He continued: “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.”

It was this fatalistic moment that might have saved James’s life from following the same path.

The gentleman who had passed away experienced a heart attack.

Such a sobering episode caused James to “re-address the balance” of his life.

A heart attack

This life-threatening condition occurs when blood supply to the heart is suddenly interrupted, explained the NHS.

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In a short amount of time, the heart muscle begins to die, triggering symptoms of a heart attack.

Symptoms of a heart attack can include:

  • Chest pain
  • Chest pain that travels to the arm, jaw, neck or tummy
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea
  • An overwhelming sense of anxiety
  • Coughing or sneezing

The medical emergency may not lead to death if paramedics are able to reach the individual in time.

This is why it’s crucial to call 999 as soon as you suspect someone, or yourself, is having a heart attack.

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In some cases, a complication called ventricular arrhythmia can cause the heart to stop beating.

This is known as a sudden cardiac arrest, and requires immediate assistance.

Signs of cardiac arrest include:

  • They appear not to be breathing
  • They’re not moving
  • They don’t respond to any stimulation, such as being touched or spoken to

The use of an automated external defibrillator could save this person’s life.

Alternatively, chest compression may help to restart the heart – courses are available online for this life-saving skill.

The NHS explain how to do a chest compression step for step:

  1. Place the heel of your hand on the breastbone at the centre of the person’s chest.
  2. Place your other hand on top of your first hand and interlock your fingers.
  3. Using your body weight (not just your arms), press straight down by five to six centimetres on their chest.
  4. Repeat this until an ambulance arrives.

“Aim to do 100 to 120 compressions a minute,” the NHS added – the British Heart Foundation have a video on how to do this.

What contributes to a heart attack?

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a contributing factor for a heart attack.

Certain lifestyle habits can increase a person’s blood pressure, such as lack of sleep, too much caffeine and smoking.

“Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high,” said the national health body.

This includes eating a healthy diet, lowering the consumption of salt, alcohol, caffeine, exercising often and maintaining a healthy weight.

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