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Russ Abbot health: Actor was ‘prescribed daily statin’ to ward off bad health

High cholesterol: Nutritionist reveals top prevention tips

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Last of the Summer Wine is still the longest-running comedy programme in Britain, and the longest-running sitcom in the world having lasted for 37 years from 1973 to 2010. In order to commemorate the lasting success of the show, a special programme, Last of the Summer Wine: 30 Years of Laughs was created, and is being repeated tonight (Saturday, March 5) on Channel 5. As well as honouring beloved stars of the show who are no longer with us, Russ Abbott joins fellow cast member Brian Murphy to remember their days on set.

Back in 2010, Abbot took part in a MailOnline health interview, revealing some unknown information about the state of his health.

Although he said he was “pretty fit” at the time, the star opened up about his family’s health history and the life-threatening health condition that both of his brothers died from.

“There have been heart problems with the men in my family,” Abbot revealed.

“My father died aged 60 in 1972. He had a stroke in hospital and then another, and sadly never recovered.

“My older and younger brothers both died from heart attacks. I try not to worry about this in terms of my own health. But I have tests once or twice a year.

“I’m pretty fit. Every time I go to the GP he always says I have the blood pressure of an athlete.”

The star went on to say that his doctor prescribed him a “daily statin” in order to control his cholesterol, suggesting that not all parts of his health are tip top.

With his family history of strokes and heart attacks, Abbot is immediately at risk of developing the same conditions, so monitoring his cholesterol levels becomes critical.

The Heart Foundation explains the following: “If one of your immediate family members, such as a parent or sibling, has had a heart attack, a stroke, or was diagnosed with heart disease before the age of 60, this may indicate a family history of premature heart disease.

“This means that your chances of developing the same condition may be higher than normal. A family history could increase your risk of developing heart disease in a number of ways: Inherited genes, shared environments.”

Although there is no single gene that causes heart disease, the health website explains that several genes can work together to increase an individual’s risk.

In addition, shared environments and behaviours such as eating habits and lifestyle behaviours can also act as increased risk factors for family members.

High cholesterol levels typically do not cause any symptoms, so monitoring your levels through cholesterol tests are vital as keeping your blood cholesterol at a healthy level.

The NHS explains that cholesterol levels might be different for every individual, but average cholesterol levels should be:

  • Total cholesterol – five or below
  • HDL (good cholesterol) – one or above
  • LDL (bad cholesterol) – three or below
  • Non-HDL (bad cholesterol) – four or below
  • Triglycerides – 2.3 or below.

Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) makes up most cholesterol and is bad because it can stick to the walls of arteries and cause a fatty build-up called plaque. Too much plaque leads to blockages that prevent blood from flowing properly to the heart.

If diagnosed with high cholesterol, the NHS explains that there are a number of ways to reduce it. This includes:

  • Eating less fatty food
  • Exercising more
  • Stopping smoking
  • Cutting down on alcohol.

For some individuals, lifestyle changes are not enough, so like Abbot, medication like statins are recommended.

Statins are a group of medicines that can help lower the level of low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol in the blood. They are usually offered if individuals are at risk of heart disease, heart attacks or stroke.

Typically they are taken once every day and in some cases individuals will have to do this for the rest of their lives. This is because even though statins lower your cholesterol, it will rise again if you come off the medication.

In addition to statins to lower his cholesterol, Abbot revealed that he also takes cod liver oil to help his joints, blaming his aches and pains to his career in comedy. He added: “I also take cod liver oil for my joints, although I’m sure a lot of the intermittent cramps and aches I get are down to all the comedy falls and stunts I’ve done.”

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