I was 17 when my father died of a heart attack
MY HEALTH EXPERIENCE:Everybody has a theory as to why my father died so young, relates ROB MORGAN
THE IRISH Heart Foundation came to me and my two brothers, Don and Ben, because our father, Dermot Morgan, died of a heart attack at the age of 45.
As part of Heart Month, the foundation is running a free mobile blood pressure roadshow nationwide, where free blood pressure checks will be offered in the hope of reducing people’s risk of heart attack and stroke.
That was the catalyst to get us involved, but, what the foundation didn’t know was that I suffer from high blood pressure myself.
I had no idea I had high blood pressure when I went to the doctor with swollen feet in October 2008. I had just come back that April, from working in London in the hotel industry. I had a bit of a virus in November of the previous year and I was feeling very run down, putting on weight and feeling a bit lethargic.
I had already made a very conscious decision when I moved home that I was going to get a job with less stress. I deliberately chose a type of job working in an office that wouldn’t tax my body a whole heap.
That was not to do with my father, but there was a realisation that certain jobs can put a toll on your body and I didn’t want to do that to myself anymore. After some blood tests, the doctor told me I had both high cholesterol and high blood pressure.
It is one of those things that you never suspect you will have when you are only 28. It sent alarm bells off in my head because Dermot had died young of a heart attack.
I was referred to a cardiologist. Thankfully, it was nothing heart-related, but it is something that I need to be aware of and monitor in the future. Hypertension is one of the things that can happen to anyone.
I now have to make sure that I get regular exercise, that I eat properly and take my medication. At present I’m on the drug Lestace which is the standard treatment for high pressure. I play five-a-side football every week and hockey for Pembroke Wanderers in Ballsbridge. I will never play either sport at the highest level, but it is enough to keep me happy. I learned from an early age about the importance of exercise to my physical and mental wellbeing.
To say my hypertension is genetic would not be a logical conclusion. I have high blood pressure, but neither of my two brothers does. Dermot had some medical checks around the time of Father Ted, but he was not suffering from high blood pressure or anything else.
It is more likely as a result of working in a high pressure environment as duty manager in a five star hotel. I had been doing that for most of my career and my time in London was the most demanding.
Working in a hotel environment is difficult. I wasn’t keeping good hours, I didn’t have a great diet at the time. I was living from ready meal to fast food to ready meal and burning the candle at both ends. That is never good for anyone. Hotels are all I know though and I love them.