Brian May health: Star reveals brutal symptoms of heart attack – ’40 minutes of pain’

Brian May guest stars in CBBC show Andy and the Band

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Back in May 2020, the rockstar revealed that he had ripped his buttock muscles while gardening. But unbeknown to the star at the time, this incident, which occurred while he was gardening, this muscular injury was only the start of his health troubles. At the time, the musician posted a series of updates on his Instagram account explaining that in addition to agonising pain in his backside and lower back, he also suffered from a small heart attack after it was discovered that three of the arteries in his major organ were blocked. Having to “fight” his way to good health, how is the singer doing now?

After being admitted to hospital, the Bohemian Rhapsody singer revealed that he was “very near death”.

Although he was being treated for his heart attack and blocked arteries, the guitarist suffered from complications due to the medication he was on. These complications became so bad that his stomach exploded, nearly killing the star all over again.

In an interview with The Times, May said: “It is a long climb back. I’ve had complications due to the drugs I’m on, one of which was a stomach explosion that nearly killed me.

“I don’t know what’s worse: the pain or the painkillers.

“I don’t drink, I don’t smoke, I don’t have high cholesterol and I was exercising through the tour, so why did it happen?”

Continuing to explain some of the symptoms he suffered during the heart attack, he added: “It was about 40 minutes of pain in the chest and tightness and that feeling in the arms and sweating.”

A heart attack is a serious condition and occurs when an artery supplying the heart with blood and oxygen becomes blocked. Blockages are typically made up of fat, cholesterol and other substances which form a plaque.

Before a heart attack occurs, a plaque can rupture and form a clot that blocks blood flow. The interrupted blood flow can damage or destroy part of the heart muscle.

Due to the severity of a heart attack, it is important to know the signs and first tell-tale symptoms, which can include:

  • Chest pain – a feeling of pressure, heaviness, tightness or squeezing across your chest
  • Pain in other parts of the body – it can feel as if the pain is spreading from your chest to your arms (usually the left arm, but it can affect both arms), jaw, neck, back and tummy
  • Feeling lightheaded or dizzy
  • Sweating
  • Shortness of breath
  • Feeling sick (nausea) or being sick (vomiting)
  • An overwhelming feeling of anxiety (similar to a panic attack)
  • Coughing or wheezing.

The NHS adds that while the most common symptom in both men and women is chest pain, women are more likely to have other symptoms such as shortness of breath, feeling or being sick and back or jaw pain.

Speaking about his long recovery after surgery and the multiple complications that came with it, May admitted that the ordeal had knocked the stuffing out of him.

He told Good Morning Britain that he was grateful to be alive, saying: “It’s been a big mountain to climb to get back up to strength again but it’s become my new religion, really.

“I lost an awful lot of blood all at one time and just was wiped out. [I] couldn’t move. [I] couldn’t get across the floor.

“I had a bit of a bad time all around… a catalogue of disasters, I had sciatica as well. I’m not quite sure how I got that.

“I’m so grateful to be alive, because a few years ago, that couldn’t have happened. I had three stents in me, which are working just fine, and I feel good.

“I just exercise, I do my cardio rehab every day.”

Although the activity that started all of his health issues, May also told Gardeners’ World Magazine that getting outside and gardening has helped with his recovery, saying it was “one of life’s great therapies”.

Recovering from a heart attack will depend on the amount of damage to your heart muscle. The NHS explains that most people can return to work after having a heart attack. Some people are well enough to return to work after two weeks whereas others may take several months.

The recovery process not only aims to reduce the risk of another heart attack occurring, but also helps to restore your physical fitness levels so individuals can resume normal activities.

In addition, taking these five steps may help to reduce your risk of having a heart attack:

  1. Smokers should quit smoking
  2. Lose weight if you’re overweight or obese
  3. Do regular exercise – adults should do at least 150 minutes (two hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity each week
  4. Eat a low-fat, high-fibre diet, including wholegrains and at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day
  5. Moderate your alcohol consumption.

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