Si King vividly recalls ‘searing pain’ of his brain aneurysm – ‘incredibly scary’

This Morning: Si King gives an update on Dave Myers

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Both such hardworking chefs, both Si and Dave have made drastic changes to do with their health and wellbeing in order to try and stay on top form. This was also spurred by King’s brain aneurysm, which began out as a severe headache. When the pain suddenly started to get progressively worse, the chef decided to seek medical help, describing the pain as like “someone was going at my head with a rusty nail and a hammer”.

“It’s an incredibly scary thing. More people die from this type of thing than survive,” King has been reported saying when reflecting on the ordeal.

“Everything just started to fall off the bottom of the TV.

“I thought, ‘I’m in trouble here.’ Then I had this searing pain – the only way to describe it was like someone was going at my head with a rusty nail and a hammer.”

Once at hospital the star recalled that even doctors and nurses were flustered, making sure the chef had numerous medical tests to ensure their diagnosis was correct.

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He added: “When I got to hospital all hell broke loose. The doctors did a lumbar puncture and found blood in my spinal fluid.

“At that point they grew really worried – I had to sign a load of forms to say I understood I may make it, or I may not.

“It’s not just the ‘am I going to die here?’ thing. It’s the knowledge that even if you don’t die, you can be left with damage to the brain.”

The NHS explains that most brain aneurysms – a bulge in a blood vessel, that is caused by a weakness in the vessel wall – are only noticeable if they burst, which in turn causes symptoms.

A ruptured brain aneurysm can cause extensive brain damage and is an “urgent medical condition”. In fact, the condition is so severe that the NHS explains that about three in five people who suffer from a ruptured brain aneurysm, known professionally as a subarachnoid haemorrhage, die within two weeks.

Symptoms that can occur due to a ruptured brain aneurysm include the following:

  • A sudden agonising headache – it’s been described as a “thunderclap headache”, similar to a sudden hit on the head, resulting in a blinding pain unlike anything experienced before
  • A stiff neck
  • Sickness and vomiting
  • Pain while looking at light.

Unruptured brain aneurysms can occasionally still cause symptoms, especially if they are particularly large, or press against tissue or nerves inside of the brain. Although rare, symptoms of an unruptured brain aneurysm include the following:

Visual disturbances, such as loss of vision or double vision

  • Pain above or around your eye
  • Numbness or weakness on one side of your face
  • Difficulty speaking
  • Headaches
  • Loss of balance
  • Difficulty concentrating or problems with short-term memory.

Following surgery to save his life, King was told by doctors that he had suffered from a “massive trauma” but within four weeks the star was back on his beloved motorbike.

He shared: “The consultant surgeon who did my operation told me that I’d suffered a massive trauma. He said I’d lost 20 percent of myself and not to do much. He said I’d basically got away with it. And my God, have I got away with it.”

With little to no long-term side effects from the ordeal, King decided that he would make more of a conscious effort to take care of his health, both physical and mental.

“Exercise is great because it releases endorphins into your system,” King said. “It was the single biggest change for me, because I exercised every day. I rowed, I punched a punch bag for 20 minutes and stretched, and that just helped lift my mood.”

In addition to exercise, King also revealed he had started to see a therapist, especially as he has suffered from periods of depression. Speaking for both himself and Myers, King added: “We were two middle-aged men who struggled with their weight, and to lose weight, you have to deal with what’s in your head first. We’re just like everybody else. We struggle with our moods, we struggle with mental health.

“Therapy is a road that I have gone down because you sometimes need professional help and intervention. You just can’t do it yourself.

“You need to have a professional that opens up doors, those doors that you don’t want to open. It’s a journey that you have to make. There’s nobody else who can make it for you, you have to do it.”

Like King, the NHS recommends that the best way to prevent health trauma and reduce the risk of brain aneurysms from occurring includes the following:

  • Quitting smoking
  • Eating a low-fat diet
  • Controlling high blood pressure
  • Being a healthy weight.

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