Johnny Vegas health: The star’s drastic lifestyle changes to ‘be around a bit longer’

Johnny Vegas tells James Martin he's nervous with maple syrup

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After sadly losing his father to terminal bladder cancer, Johnny Vegas began to work with Macmillan cancer-care support. He praised the charity for how they supported his father and the surrounding family in dealing with his father’s last moments. It was his love for his family, particularly his two sons – Michael and Tom – that encouraged him to take his health more seriously too.

Talking to the Telegraph the comedian said: “I have children, and you start thinking you’d like to be around a bit longer for them.”

Vegas was diagnosed with gout – a type of arthritis that causes sudden and severe joint pain – about a decade ago and doctors warned him that there was a high chance he could be on medication for the rest of his life.

Not liking the sound of the idea, Vegas decided that he was going to start taking better care of himself. Yet with the isolations of lockdown and addictions that are proving hard to stop, the actor’s health hangs in the balance.

Another condition that the star fears he might develop further down the line, similar to his father, is a venous leg ulcer.

Speaking about his father’s experience with the condition after teaming up with L&R Medical, the actor revealed that poor circulatory problems in the lower limbs run in his family.

He said: “My dad and relatives on his side had poor circulation in the lower limbs, swollen legs and feet and broken skin. It could be on the horizon for me, so I need to get into better habits and adopt this as a routine, like brushing your teeth, standing on tiptoes going up and down, similar to aeroplane exercises.”

As the actor realises, putting leg exercises into your daily routine is one way in which he can try and prevent suffering from circulatory conditions too.

Although his father had bigger health issues such as cancer and an aneurysm, Vegas says that it was his legs that were never up for discussion. “Any query, comment or attempt to lighten the discomfort of this particular ailment was considered by him to be a bit too below the belt.”

“It became obvious that he felt that this was a stigma,” Vegas explained.

Due to his dad’s failure to acknowledge his circulatory condition, Vegas is determined to not fall into the same habit but rather take the advice of his GP onboard and do something about it.

He continued to say: “What I have learnt from my dad is, don’t choose somewhere else in the room to look at because you don’t want to look at your legs, because you don’t want to acknowledge what is going on.

“I can either leave my legs as they are now or continue with the exercises. I have got to be aware of it.”

L&R Medical states that if your relatives have had varicose veins, chronic oedema or a wound on their leg that doesn’t heal easily, then your risk of developing varicose veins or other lower limb conditions is increased.

That is why it is crucial to seek advice from your GP if you are noticing any symptoms – the earlier the better.

NHS guidelines say that venous leg ulcers are open, often painful sores in the skin that take more than two weeks to heal. They usually develop on the inside of the leg, just above the ankle.

Tell-tale signs of a venous leg ulcer include:

  • Swollen ankles (oedema)
  • Discolouration and darkening of the skin around the ulcer
  • Hardened skin around the ulcer, which may make your leg feel hard
  • A heavy feeling in your legs
  • Aching or swelling in your legs
  • Red, flaky, scaly and itchy skin on your legs (varicose eczema)
  • Swollen and enlarged veins on your legs (varicose veins)
  • An unpleasant and foul-smelling discharge from the ulcer.

If pain worsens or there is any unpleasant discharge coming from the ulcer, this could be a sign of infection. At this stage the need for specialist medical treatment is even greater.

In order to treat the ulcer it needs to be appropriately dressed and cleaned. A firm compression bandage will also be put on your leg in order to improve circulation in veins. These bandages are designed to squeeze your legs and encourage blood to flow upwards towards your heart.

Symptoms that often accompany venous leg ulcers such as swelling and itchy skin can be controlled by elevating your legs whenever possible and regular exercise. Ointment creams and avoiding itching the skin as much as possible can also help in recovery.

In order to prevent the development of venous leg ulcers, the NHS advises you to walk regularly, monitor your weight and wear compression stockings.

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