The 61-year-old is a firm favourite with fans, making telly presenting look easy. The star has also released two mega successful albums where he covers traditional pop songs along with two original tracks. Yet far from his career successes, the star opened up about his dramatic health warning, where doctors told him he would most likely die if he did not lose weight immediately.
Talking to The Sun in summer of last year, the star revealed the extent to which he was at risk of a “silent killer” disease.
He said: “I was a time bomb. I produce too much cholesterol. It’s a silent killer. My heart guy said, ‘Look, Brad, you need to get fit’.”
Bradley’s health fears were made worse due to a family history of heart disease, the condition that sadly took his father at the age of 60.
“I had a hang-up because my father, Daniel, died at the age of 59,” the star continued to explain.
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“I had it in the back of my mind that I just had to get past my dad’s age. So turning 60 was a bit of milestone.
“I was 33 when he passed away. I’d just done the Royal Variety Show performance which helped launch my career, but my dad died from heart failure two weeks after that and never got to see it.
“Once you know it’s hereditary, you start having regular tests. Of course it’s a concern.”
Heart disease is a severe condition and major cause of death in the UK. And having high cholesterol makes individuals increasingly at risk of developing the condition.
The symptoms of heart disease to look out for include the following:
- Chest pain, chest tightness, chest pressure and chest discomfort (angina)
- Shortness of breath
- Pain, numbness, weakness or coldness in your legs or arms if the blood vessels in those parts of your body are narrowed
- Pain in the neck, jaw, throat, upper abdomen or back.
After the loss of his father Bradley had a “game-changing” carotid artery test which was able to tell him how much “furring” an individual has.
The term “furring” refers to the amount of fatty deposits that have built up in the walls of arteries. If these arteries become too narrow, the blood supply to the heart becomes blocked, causing a heart attack.
Results from medical tests revealed that Bradley had hereditary high cholesterol and was in dire need to “get fit”.
The star continued to say: “I’m not on statins but what my heart guy said was, ‘Look, Brad, if you start training, all that (cholesterol) will drop. You need to get fit’.
“I was a time bomb. I was quite lucky in regards to the calcium test but my doctor said I produce too much cholesterol. It’s a silent killer.
“And this was literally just prior to lockdown. Then lockdown hit. I got on the scales and saw I’d hit 14st 9lbs, the heaviest I’ve ever been. I really was quite big.
“I thought, ‘Oh crikey, I’m gonna be bang in trouble here if I don’t lose the weight and start dealing with this’. I decided to get consciously stuck in. So, touch wood, I will be OK.”
In order to tackle his cholesterol levels, Brad stopped drinking and began watching his diet. The star started to eat more fruit, vegetables, salads and fish, and became conscious of hidden sugars.
The NHS advises that eating a healthy diet and doing regular exercise can help lower the level of cholesterol in your blood.
Most people in the UK eat too much saturated fat, which is in foods like meat pies, sausages, cakes and biscuits and dairy products.
Yet to lower cholesterol levels individuals should be eating foods that contain unsaturated fats. Therefore, replacing saturated fatty foods with oily fish, nuts, seeds, avocado and vegetable oils and spreads is an easy way to lower cholesterol.
In addition, adding more fibre to your diet can not only reduce cholesterol but also reduce your risk of heart disease. Adults should aim for at least 30g of fibre a day, which can be obtained in foods like wholemeal bread, oats and pulses and beans.