Peter Bargh

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Archive for the ‘Health’ Category

March 19th, 2016 by Peter Bargh

Parkrun: New Personal Best

Today I achieved a new personal best time of 23:03 on the Hillsborough 5k Parkrun. I came 50th (45th male) out of a field of 219 runners and 1st in my age category with an age-graded score of 66.09%. And I even managed a smile!

park run
January 30th, 2016 by Peter Bargh

Leg damage

On this morning Parkrun my leg muscle ached as I walked down to Hillsborough park. I should have known…it was a sign! I got round lap one in less than 8 mins but then pain started in my right leg. I didn’t stop and by the third lap I was in agony. I couldn’t walk until the following Tuesday.

February 27th, 2013 by Peter Bargh

Cholesterol update

Just latest health update

I posted a detailed piece a few years ago on Cholesterol and was happy to report my level had dropped from over  6 down to 3.5.  I had a blood test about four months ago that showed it had risen to over 5 so I’d gone back on the doctor’s radar. After a meeting with the doc I was changed from Simvastatin to Atorvastatin which is a stronger option. The latest blood test shows I’m down to 4.3.

HDL is at 1.04 and LDL is at 1.85

That puts me off concern but I’m still above where I should be – I need to become healthier but struggle doing gym style fitness as I find it so dull.

Anyone got any good ideas? I’m fair walker, get up hills a few times each month and I eat loads of nuts and fruit and less cheese / curries.

December 7th, 2009 by admin

Swine Flu Jab

Sign I’m officially vulnerable as I get a letter to join the frail and elderly queue up outside the Worksop Town Hall on a Freezing December morning for the Swine Flu Jab. I met Jean Darnborough in the queue


September 1st, 2009 by Peter Bargh

Cardiac Rehab Exercise

leap across the millstonesThe final stages of my rehab program have come in to play. I’m now attending a Cardiac Rehab Exercise class at the hospital.
It’s a series of 12 sessions aimed to teach you how to exercise correctly following a heart attack.

The process is like a circuit training session on sedation.

The first session was strange. A class of 12 or so middle to older aged people all shuffling about for the 15 minutes graded warm up.

The warm up, it’s explained, is to slowly get your body and heart ready for some moderate exercise that follows. The warm up is less strenuous than walking into the hospital, but it’s using each muscle and gradually building up to make you ready for the circuit that follows.

The circuit is a series of cardiovascular based exercises, that takes about 30mins to complete. While doing the circuit you push a little to begin to deepen your breathing, with an aim to reach a moderate breathing level. One where you can still hold a conversation without gasping. It’s all measured on the Borg scale. A scale introduced by Gunnar Borg that rates from 0 to 10 (o being nothing at all and 10 being extremely hard) We have to aim for 3 4 or 5 (moderate).
The circuit is followed by a 10 minute structured cool down. The warm up in reverse.

And then it’s tea and biscuits.

You have your blood pressure and heart rate read before and after the session.

Having been a fairly fit person all my life I’m finding it difficult to adjust to this very sedate process, but I’m doing as told.

Once the session is complete I can go off to a normal gym and start to build up my fitness program.  My aim is to become fit enough to climb mountains again.  I really want to revisit Striding Edge, but for now I’ll have to stick with places like Millstone Edge (that’s where the photo above was taken yesterday)

July 8th, 2009 by Peter Bargh

What are the odds?

As many who read my occasional diary know, after my heart attack it was discovered that I had a totally blocked artery, and the remedy was an attempt at doing an angioplasty. I arranged a consultation with the cardiologist, Dr Grech, who put my mind at ease and said he had a 70% chance of successfully unblocking the artery. In my mind that’s a high chance of success. It’s certainly at least a glass half full situation. And, at the end of the day, even if it couldn’t be unblocked, there are alternatives.
So I decided to go ahead.

Since that day, the bit that’s concerned my is the odds within the angioplasty procedure. The risks are explained in advance.

Firstly, there’s a 1/100 chance of a groin injury – the angioplasty is performed by inserting a tube into the main artery in your groin and then feeding a catheter through up into the heart. Then hole is a couple of mm thick in the artery, so is plugged up at the end of the procedure to stop the bleeding. I guess it’s quite a strain on this area hence the risk. Now I’d rather have discomfort in the leg/groin than the blocked artery in the heart, so I’ll happily take that 100 to 1 gamble without too much worry.

But there’s also a 1 in 100 chance of a stroke, heart attack or fatality…and it’s this that’s been playing on my mind for a few month since my last health blog post, while waiting for the date of the procedure.

I thought I’d share how I coped with this. If coped is the correct word. I’ve gambled a few times in my life and enjoy playing games that involve the role of a dice. So on one hand I had the thought that 100 to 1 was pretty risky, but on the other hand, and this is the thing that gave me a glimmer of hope in my half empty glass head, is the fact that I rarely get a £10 win on the lottery (54 to 1 chance); I rarely get number 23 on roulette (36 to 1) and would I bet on a 100 to 1 horse? I have done, but I never expect to win. Even down to a roll of a dice. How often does 6 come up when you need it (6 to 1)?

So still with a sprinkling of doubt I entered the procedure room at about 9.15am yesterday in a fairly relaxed (well I hadn’t any brown stains in my pants) state. An hour or so later I was out. I had a sore leg, an aching heart, and three inserted stents, but I was still alive. Of course, I have to thank the skilful cardiologist and his excellent team. And I guess the next time when I’m presented with a health odds situation I’ll feel less anxious.

So anyone reading this with the decision ahead of them, I’d recommend going ahead. Of course this is just an opinion I’m no medical expert – so please seek professional advice.

July 7th, 2009 by admin

Stents inserted

I had stents fitted to widen artery in heartI had to carry this card around for 90 days so physicians could see I’d had an Angio-Seal Device on the right side of the groin and Fenoral Artery.



July 7th, 2009 by admin


Had Angioplasty – commonly known as stents fitted in the heart

Three inserted into the central artery to clear the blockage

March 12th, 2009 by Peter Bargh

Stents – good or bad?

I finally got to know an outcome of my next stage of recovery…and made a mistake of doing a bit of research on the web.

I have a totally blocked artery. Fortunately my heart has compensated and grown another artery path near to the damaged area so blood is being supplied. This puts me in a mid way position between a routine stent operation and bypass. It seems it’s going to be a complicated stent procedure, but I’m told being performed by a very good specialist.

So I have a look on the web and the first thing I see is an advert right at the top “Stents are very dangerous” It goes on to sell some wonder medicine that thins out the damaging plaque to unblock the arteries and make you all as new. If I was a blocked sink I guess it’s the difference between calling in a plumber for either rod plunging which normally works well, or a more complex repiping, or just buying some drain block acid.

I start to look at medical sites and many talk about the ease in which stents can be put in…one referred to surgeons doing stents in the same ease they change tyres. But do doctors actually change tires? 😉

The odds
There’s a risk with a stent that the body may not like it and react, or that the stent cannot be manoeuvred into place correctly and cause complications, or that you have a stroke. The odds of dying in hospital are, according to a British Heart Foundation leaflet, about 200 to 1.

There’s some recent research that suggest if you don’t have the stent at the same time as you experience the heart attack there’s not a great benefit from having one fitted later to prevent further attack. Their research indicates that you have as much chance of survival taking the medication that’s prescribed.

So I’m now in a dilemma. Do I have a stent or do I take my chances? I am currently getting chest discomfort when I exercise, but it’s not unbearable. Do the plaque dissolving methods work or is this just another age reducing/baldness curing un-wonderdrug?

I will be seeing the specialist for a pre-stent assessment. I have a few questions. I’ll add my findings here.

If anyone’s been through any of this already please feel free to send me a comment it will make for useful reading for anyone who ends up in the same position in the future.

March 6th, 2009 by Peter Bargh

I never thought I’d consider my diet!

Following a heart attack you start looking at your life in new light. In my case excessive weight, lack of fitness or smoking could not be attributed to the cause…but one thing that I can change is my diet. Particularly my cholesterol level, which, at 6.6 (post heart attack), is too high for today’s standards. The guideline for UK today is around 3. I was put on statins which reduces this level but it’s time for a diet change as for years I’ve been doing it wrong – very wrong.

Two things I ate almost daily where cheese and chocolate…not together I might add.
I’d have cheese on toast, cheese in sandwiches, cheese on pizza, cheese in dishes.
And, in the evening I’d have a bar of chocolate with a pint. It became regular, and addictive. I’m told cheese can still be eaten, but not the hard variety which tends to have more fat. Basically, if the cheese tastes strong and lovely, like mature cheddar, it’s probably no good. If it tastes bland like Edam it’s better.
And milk chocolate is the one I’d reach for, but plain is the safer choice. I’ve had about two bars of chocolate in three months and miss it badly.

Things I ate weekly: curries, fish and chips, ready meals. I’ve had fish and chips once since and ready meals have been stopped completely.
I love curries…the ones I like are cooked in Ghee (Indian butter). It’s about as fatty as you can get. I enjoy a peshwari naan alongside and pilau rice. In curry terms these are three big bad items. We should be eating dry meals such as Tandori or Shashlik, but I like those runny dishes that soak into the fried rice and go well with the coconut naan.
The naan should be plain and the rice should be boiled. I’ve had two “proper” curries since, and the temptation to go back to what I really enjoy was too great, I can live without the peshwari naan and the pilau rice, but not the flavour rich jalfrezis or dopiazas. Once now and again won’t hurt, he mutters with fingers crossed.

Five a day!
If there’s one thing that’s been well and truly drilled into us it’s the message – five a day. We’ve all heard it, but do we take notice? I didn’t, I do now! So what is five a day? We know it’s fruit and veg but how much? Here are the requirements for an adult:

Something the size of an apple is classed as one portion
A plum or kiwi is half a portion so two would be needed to make a portion
A larger item such as a pineapple would require a thick slice
And a small item such as a grape would need a handful
Dried fruit counts (you need a tablespoon’s worth)
A 150ml glass of fruit juice
A dessert bowl of salad
2 tablespoons of any veg, raw or cooked

Have fruit with breakfast, as a snack and after a meal, include veg with a meal and a glass of juice at some point in the day and you’re sorted.

Something fishy
I regularly ate tinned tuna in sandwiches, and was eating it because I thought I was being healthy. I had no idea why, but thought, it was fish, so it was good. The reason you need fish is for the Omega 3 oils. In tuna it’s unfortunately removed in the canning process, so you need to switch to mackerel or pilchards if canned fish is your thing. Fresh Tuna’s fine.

Milk round
I’ve had semi skimmed milk for years and at least that’s one thing I don’t need to change. I’m told there are some new skimmed milks doing the rounds that have flavour, but that remains to be tested by the Bargh palate.

I also cook using Olive oil which is the best route but reduce the amount of oil you use.

I’ve used spreads as a butter replacement for years too, but there are some that are better than others. Make sure you choose a spread with less than 15g of saturated fat per 100g, and spread thinly.

Are you nuts about nuts?
Research suggests that nuts can reduce your chances of heart attack by up to 35%. This is because they are shown to reduce low-density lipoprotein cholesterol (the bad cholesterol)
My favourite nuts are cashews, but the best appear to be Walnuts (they contain Omega 3 fatty acids) and Almonds that are rich in protein, vitamin E, manganese, magnesium, copper, vitamin B2 (riboflavin), and phosphorus. Other healthy options include peanuts (not Bombay spiced!), pumpkin seeds and cashews.

As a disclaimer I must state that I’m not a dietician just following advice I’ve been given or read. It’s not conclusive; I’ve just scratched the surface, but it may give you a lead to research further. But be warned you will find lots of conflicting info.

btw my cholesterol level is now 3.5. So something’s worked.