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James Martin 'scarred for life' after seeing up Tony Singh's kilt

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James, 49, was determined to turn his life around to avoid getting heart disease. The chef who presents James Martin’s Saturday Kitchen is always sharing cooking hints, tips and tricks with viewers and celebrity guests with his own health taking a back seat. However his hectic work schedule and family history of heart related problems are a dangerous duo, meaning the chef had to change his ways.

Speaking to The Herald James said: “Heart disease has been an issue in my family for generations. My dad likes his food deep-fried with lots of butter, but he doesn’t like running it off.” Seemingly a love of butter is something that runs in the Martin family too.“I don’t do much exercise either. James continued. “When you’re a big bloke like my grandfather, father and me, it’s not as easy to stay fit as it is for someone who’s a bit smaller.”Sadly however, his father and formerly the resident chef of Castle Howard in Yorkshire has suffered three heart attacks. James’ late paternal grandfather also died of heart disease.

Symptoms of heart disease include:

  • Blood vessel disease, such as coronary artery disease
  • Heart rhythm problems (arrhythmias)
  • Heart defects you’re born with (congenital heart defects)
  • Heart valve disease
  • Disease of the heart muscle
  • Heart infection.

“That was just over a year ago and that was the decision to change.”Throughout his career and personal life, allied environmental services or the threat of heart disease and suffering a heart attack has strangely lingered over the chef’s head. But to his fans’ relief, the chef has made a conscious effort to try and reduce his personal risk.Continuing he said: “I no longer stuff my face with really bad things such as takeaway pizza, Mars bars and fizzy soft drinks, which I used to have tons of during my working day, just like almost every other chef in the country.“Now I eat fish twice a week as well as loads of vegetables and fresh fruit.”

In addition to diet changes the chef has also started using a pedometer in the kitchen and regularly racking up to 16 miles a day. As well as lifestyle changes the chef took the decision to quit Saturday Kitchen, the star’s former telly programme, so he could “readdress the balance” of his life. The British Heart Foundation also urges people to be aware of the dangers a family history of heart disease can cause.Crucially, it explains that if your father or brother was under the age of 55 when diagnosed or your mother or sister was under the age of 65 when they were diagnosed, you have what is called a strong family history.

The risk of heart disease increases due to your family history because of genes. The information within genes which affects how we look and how our bodies work, are inherited from your parents. Genes are able to contain the information that causes conditions such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol levels – two of the main common causes of heart or circulatory disease. A family history differs from what is known as an inherited condition as this is caused by a fault or mutation in one or more of your genes. If one of your parents suffer from an inherited condition such as heart muscle disease, there is a 50 percent chance you will too whereas with family history, it is the combination of shared genes and shared environments passed through generations that increases your risk. If you find that your family does have a history of heart disease it is important to tell your GP or nurse. They will be able to check your blood pressure regularly and monitor any symptoms.

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