SEVERE pain and sickness meant Sean Colbourne resorted to a diet of milk and yoghurt for eight months.
But even then, the 49-year-old managed to gain three stone, ballooning to 21 stone.
After seeing his GP, Sean, of St Paul’s Road, Southsea, was referred to Queen Alexandra Hospital, in Cosham, where he was diagnosed with chronic heart failure – and told he was carrying 30 litres of fluid in his body.
Tomorrow is World Heart Day, and Sean wants to share his story.
He said: ‘I gained three stone of weight in eight months despite eating a diet that consisted of milk and yogurt.
‘Both myself and my GP knew that something was wrong.
‘I couldn’t hold any other food down, I was constantly feeling sick and was in a lot of pain.’
Sean was sent to QA’s cardiology department, where a scan revealed he had chronic heart failure.
Sean had been carrying more than 30 litres of fluid, which was putting a massive strain on his heart.
It was also leaving him bloated and feeling full, which meant he couldn’t keep food down.
He was put on water tablets to enable his body to lose the excess fluid, which resulted in him dropping six-and-a-half stone in just two weeks.
‘The doctors and nurses said they’d never seen someone with that much fluid before, and they were surprised I hadn’t had a heart attack,’ added Sean.
‘The doctor even said that if I’d had a heart attack, because of the severity of my condition, it could have been fatal.
‘I’m so lucky to be alive; I owe so much to both my GP and the doctors and nurses at QA.
‘I noticed the difference the tablets were making straight away.
‘After just two days, I was finally able to eat a sandwich, which was the first solid produce I’d eaten in more than six months.’
Consultant cardiologist Paul Kalra said Sean’s case was very severe.
He said: ‘Signs of heart failure can be shortness of breath, fatigue, and fluid retention.
‘The retention is usually around the ankles, but in Sean’s case it was all over his body.
‘He was a severe case of heart failure.’
Heart failure means the organ is unable to properly pump blood around the body.
As a reaction to this, the body tries to keep as much fluid as possible, in order for blood to travel around and keep organs working.
But eventually there is too much fluid in the body, which then causes problems.
Mr Kalra added: ‘The way the body works is it has compensation mechanisms to maintain a good blood supply to the body.
‘But getting to us as early as possible is the best thing to do.
‘This is beautifully exemplified by Sean’s story.
‘Three years on from diagnosis, he’s made such an improvement.’
In A bid to help future patients with chronic heart failure, Sean Colbourne is taking part in a clinical trial.
Three years ago, Sean, of St Paul’s Road, Southsea, enrolled on to a four-year heart failure clinical trial for a new medicine, which he is two years into.
He said: ‘I have a 21 year-old son and if something was to go wrong with his heart in the future I now have reassurance that trials are being done to combat and overcome heart disease.
‘That feeling makes participating in the trial worthwhile. I have total confidence in the team that should there be a problem, they will solve it.’