‘Risking It’ campaign to raise awareness on coronary heart disease

A health expert from Sheffield Hallam University has become the face of a national campaign against heart disease after making significant improvements to his own lifestyle.

Dr Anil Gumber, principal research fellow at the University's centre for health and social care research is featured as part of a series of six short films, produced by the British Heart Foundation (BHF), to raise awareness of the primary risk factors that cause coronary heart disease.

Anil, whose family has a history of coronary heart disease and diabetes, was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in 2005 but by implementing changes in his diet and creating a regular exercise regime he now does not need to take insulin.

Family history is one of the six risk factors featured in the 'Risking It' campaign by the BHF, and Anil's video is centred around his personal story and how he has made the step towards a healthier lifestyle.

Anil, whose University research looks at health economics and health inequalities, and focuses on diabetes, cardiovascular disease and cancers in ethnic minority communities, moved to the UK from India in 2001.

He said: "South Asian people living in the UK are one and a half times more likely to die from coronary heart disease before the age of 75 than the rest of the UK population.

"My grandfather was diabetic, my sister also suffers from the condition and my father had cardiovascular disease.

"After being diagnosed with diabetes, it gave me the wake-up call that I needed to change my diet and become more active. With the help and support of my wife and children, I have managed to keep the promise I made to my GP and I am delighted to be able to share my story as part of this campaign."

Amy Thompson, a Senior Cardiac Nurse for the BHF, said: “While you can't change your family history, you can change your lifestyle and reduce your risk of life-threatening diseases, such as diabetes and heart disease. We all need to look after our hearts but if you know there are - or have been - heart problems in your family, it's even more important you protect your heart.

"We can all take simple steps, like Anil did, to improve our health. Grilling foods instead of frying them and going out for an evening walk rather than spending all night on the sofa really do add up, and they're much easier to maintain than radical diet and exercise plans.

"We hope people will take inspiration from Anil's story, and others in our Risking It film series, and change the way they live for the better.”

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