Star Eric Portman had killer heart disease

This Morning: Dr Chris discusses heart disease

Film star Eric Portman died in his sixth decade of life due to heart disease. The condition is estimated to affect 2.3 million people in the UK, Dr Colin Tidy noted. In fact, one in eight men – and one in 14 women – within the UK die from coronary heart disease.

Portman, who was born on July 13, 1901, grew up in Halifax, Yorkshire, and took up an apprenticeship in sales, following in the footsteps of his father.

Yet, he quickly realised that wasn’t the route for him, so he devoted his spare time to amateur dramatics with the Halifax Opera Society.

Making his professional stage debut in 1924, Portman went on to star in the likes of A Canterbury Tale (1944) and Dear Murderer (1947).

Arguably, some of his best work is the Child In The House (1956) and The Whisperers (1967).

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Eric Portman’s Oscar

Heart disease, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) says, “is when your coronary arteries become narrowed by a build-up of fatty material within their walls”.

The BHF explains: “These arteries supply your heart muscle with oxygen-rich blood.”

Narrowed arteries lead to reduced blood flow to the heart, which can be damaging.

The condition develops slowly over time, so may people may only realise they have heart disease when they have a heart attack.

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One of the most common signs of heart disease is having angina, which is an “uncomfortable” feeling when blood flow to the heart is reduced.

Usually felt in the chest, pain may radiate in the arm, neck, stomach, back or jaw.

The sensation of angina is akin to “pressure, tightness or squeezing” in the chest, which can feel painful or like a dull ache.

Angina can also lead to:

  • Fatigue
  • Dizziness
  • Sweating
  • Nausea
  • Shortness of breath.

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What contributes to heart disease?

Certain health conditions increase the risk of developing heart disease, such as:

  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes.

Lifestyle habits could also lead to heart disease, such as smoking and leading a sedentary life, meaning you don’t move around often.

There could also be a family history of heart disease, which increases your risk.

People who experience angina might feel the sensation when feeling stressed, or when eating a meal or exposed to cold weather.

The NHS offers a free health check for individuals in England aged between 40 to 74 years old.

The same health check is available for people in Scotland from the age of 40 to 64; in Northern Ireland, the check is known as a “cardiac risk factor assessment”.

One of the checks is for heart disease, so your blood pressure and cholesterol levels are recorded.

Eric Portman starred in The Colditz Story, which is airing on Tuesday, April 4 on Film4 at 2.40pm.

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