Monty Don health: ‘I would have died’- gardening star on near-fatal health scare

Monty Don shares tips for planting garlic in the Autumn

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Having been the face of the BBC’s Gardeners’ World since 2003, Monty is used to what can be gruelling filming schedules. But when filming a recent telly series, Around the World in 80 Gardens, the star suddenly came down with a severe condition that saw him end up in hospital in the early hours. What happened to the gardening star?

Speaking to Amateur Gardening magazine Monty revealed some more details on what precisely caused his health scare. He said: “I got peritonitis just before going to South Africa.

“I said to my director ‘I feel really tired’ and then woke up in the middle of the night feeling dreadful.

“My wife found me collapsed. If she had not found me I would have died.

“I got into an ambulance at 2am and they stuck morphine into my veins.”

The NHS explains that peritonitis is an infection of the inner lining of your tummy, which if left untreated can be life-threatening.

The lining of the tummy covers internal organs like the kidneys, liver and bowel, meaning that if the lining becomes infected, there is an increased risk that these major organs could too.

The condition typically occurs due to things such as a burst stomach ulcer, digestive problems, pancreatitis or due to a pelvic inflammatory disease, but for Monty it is likely the condition came about due to his non-stop working schedule.

He later confessed that he had been working non-stop without a holiday for two years.

Symptoms of the condition can vary from individual to individual, but the most common include:

  • Severe belly pain that gets worse with any motion
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Fever
  • Sore or swollen belly
  • Fluid in the belly
  • Not being able to have a bowel movement or pass gas
  • Less urine than normal
  • Thirst
  • Trouble breathing
  • Low blood pressure and shock.

As the condition affects your stomach and tummy, symptoms can easily be mistaken for other conditions such as Crohn’s disease of irritable bowel syndrome (IBS).

However, the NHS recommends seeking medical attention immediately if you experience any of the following symptoms:

  • Sudden tummy pain that gets worse when touched or when you move
  • A very high temperature (you feel hot and shivery)
  • A rapid heartbeat (your heart is beating more quickly than normal).

The NHS goes on to explain that peritonitis requires immediate hospital treatment to get rid of an infection.

Individuals could spend up to anywhere between 10 to 14 days in hospital where they recieve treatment intravenously (through a vein).

In some cases emergency surgery is needed to find and remove the source of infection. This can involve the removal of the appendix or mending a perforated ulcer in the stomach.

If the condition is left untreated, fluid can fill up in the belly or abdomen causing severe fluid loss or dehydration.

Dehydration in adults can cause a number of side effects including fatigue, dizziness, confusion, vomiting or diarrhoea.

Infection will quickly spread throughout the rest of the body if peritonitis is ignored, which causes your body to create an extreme response within your immune system. This extreme response can lead to sepsis.

Sepsis is a fast-moving and life-threatening condition that occurs when chemicals sent into the bloodstream to help fight infection instead causes swelling and inflammation in large areas of the body. This can damage vital organs and slow blood flow.

Sepsis requires urgent medical attention, and medical professionals should be called if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • Acting confused, slurred speech or not making sense
  • Blue, pale or blotchy skin, lips or tongue
  • A rash that does not fade when you roll a glass over it, the same as meningitis
  • Difficulty breathing, breathlessness or breathing very fast.

If sepsis is not treated, individuals can go into sepsis shock, which causes your organs to fail. According to the Sepsis Trust, around 52,000 people die from sepsis each year in the UK.

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