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  • Lawrence Bailey

Festive symptoms not what they seem

A few years ago, I started getting regular indigestion.

Nothing too bad at first; but I gradually found that I couldn’t leave the house without making sure I was toting a pack of tablets. It was noticeably worse during holidays or when I got worked up about something.

Eventually, and convinced I had an impending stomach ulcer, I took myself off to the GP. She listened, nodded and prescribed some tablets. She also sent me for a series of tests at Morriston hospital. You know, just in case.

A few weeks later, I emerged a bit ashen-faced from out-patients with a diagnosis of ‘angina’.

I’d heard of the term before. My late dad had been affected by the same condition but I hadn’t really understood the implications.

Angina is usually related to coronary heart disease. This happens when the arteries that supply your heart muscle with blood and oxygen become narrowed.

Symptoms are often triggered by physical activity, an emotional upset, cold weather or after a meal. The episodes can subside after a few minutes but it’s definitely no fun while it’s happening.

Basically, you get a painful heaviness or tightness in your chest which sometimes spreads to other parts of the body. You find yourself going rigid and sweaty, hoping it will all pass soon.

What you're experiencing is a lack of blood flow that impacts on something called the ‘vagus nerve’. This is situated in your lower chest and is linked to your heart, lungs and digestive tract - hence the common mistake people make about having chronic indigestion.

The good news is that there are a number of treatment options. Some conditions can be tackled with drugs and a healthier lifestyle. Others require surgery such as a ‘stent’ procedure which is fitted into an artery to improve blood flow.

In my case, the outcome was a quadruple heart bypass; but I’ve always been one to get my money’s worth.

Anyway, I just thought that as we start planning the festive season, it might be helpful to share the possibility that persistent and chronic indigestion could be down to something more than simply overindulgence.

You can read more about angina and your options by visiting the British Heart Foundation website.

So, Iechyd da, and all that.


Living in a land of changing perspectives

I know I’m fond of saying that few of the political constants apply these days, but things have definitely reached an improbable stage when arch-Brexiteer Arron Banks tells the media he would now vote remain, if given a second chance.

His remarks seem to echo a small majority if Welsh voters – who according to a poll out this week – also favour staying in the EU.

What’s not immediately clear is if they share the opinion of the man who virtually bankrolled the leave campaign when he says politicians are “not up to the job” of exiting the EU in a business-friendly fashion.

As it happens, closer official attention is being paid to the alleged source of the £8 million he donated to the Brexit cause. That’s because foreign donations to political campaigns, including referendums, are banned under UK law.

Mr Banks makes his comments about politicians just as revelations surface that PM Theresa May is close to a deal with Brussels that will allow her to keep the whole of Britain in a customs union. Another changing perspective, it seems.

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