Harry Redknapp, 64, was crowned “King of the Jungle” on ITV’s I’m a Celebrity…Get Me Out of Here! last year. He is most famous for managing Tottenham Hotspur, West Ham and Birmingham City football clubs. The ex-football manager’s happy-go-lucky charm made him an instant TV favourite, but he has been through some dark times too.

In 2011, Redknapp’s life took a dramatic turn after he started experiencing chest pains and struggled to breathe as he ran at home.

“I just stopped running there and then and I went to see the club doctor at Spurs. He got me in to see a specialist on Saturday and by Monday I was in hospital.

After seeing the doctor it was revealed that he had blocked arteries.

According to British Heart Foundation Professor Martin Bennet, blocked arteries, also known as Atherosclerosis, is caused by the build-up of fibrous and fatty material inside the arteries and is the underlying condition that causes coronary heart disease and other circulatory diseases.

Atherosclerosis can affect all of the arteries, but particularly those that supply blood to the heart (coronaries), the neck arteries that supply blood to the brain (carotids), and the arteries that supply the legs (peripheral).

This can ultimately bring on symptoms such as chest pain (angina) or lead to life-threatening conditions such as a heart attack or stroke.

It is often dubbed the “silent killer” as Atherosclerosis does not tend to have any symptoms at first and many people may be unaware they have it, but it can eventually cause life-threatening problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, if it gets worse.

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Fortunately, Redknapp spotted it before it was too late. He was rushed into hospital where two stents inserted to unblock coronary arteries.

Commenting on the surgery, RedKnapp told The Sun: “They didn’t even put me out. I was sort of half-conscious while they did what they had to do and now it’s all taken care of.

“I haven’t had a heart attack. It was just that the specialist told me the arteries needed doing now.

“So we arranged it all and here I am. I feel fine and everyone tells me I will soon be feeling better than ever.

“I’m lucky that I work in an industry where there are experts and specialists on hand to look after you properly.”

According to Professor Bennet atherosclerosis cannot be reversed but steps can be taken to slow its development and dramatically reduce the chances of a heart attack or stroke.

He explained: “Medication can slow down how quickly the fatty material accumulates. Drugs can also stabilise the plaque and reduce the chance of it rupturing, so you’re much less likely to have a stroke or heart attack.

“Leading a healthy lifestyle and managing your risk factors is vital to slow the disease’s progression. This will help to prevent the onset of symptoms such as angina and also reduce the risk of having an event.”

Exercising regularly is one effective way to reduce the risk of clogging up the arteries.

Advice that Redknapp appears to have heeded: “It won’t stop me running – I might even do the marathon one day.”

According to the NHS, other ways to reduce the risk include:

  • Stop smoking –
  • Have a healthy diet – avoid foods that are high in saturated fats, salt or sugar, and aim to eat 5 portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  • Maintain a healthy weight – aim for a body mass index (BMI) of 18.5 to 24.9
  • Moderate your alcohol consumption – men and women are advised not to regularly drink more than 14 alcohol units a week
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