BIG CHANGE: Clive Shrugg has been able to throw away his walking stick thanks to a healthier lifestyle.
BIG CHANGE: Clive Shrugg has been able to throw away his walking stick thanks to a healthier lifestyle. ALI KUCHEL

'It's marvellous': How Clive changed his life

HEART failure nearly stopped Clive Shugg in his tracks.

Age hasn't wearied the 75-year-old, who says he's feeling better now than he did six years ago.

Mr Shugg who lives with heart failure and heart disease and said the best thing he ever did was take the advice of medical professionals.

"When it first happened, I couldn't walk 50 feet,'' the Summerholm man said.

"I couldn't walk anywhere, I was puffed out, I was sick and it was just a horrible sensation."

Mr Shugg suffered a heart attack in 2009 - a shock to Mr Shugg who said he felt otherwise healthy - but it wasn't until he was later told he had heart failure that the significance of his declining health hit home.

"The heart failure knocked me more than the heart attack, it really floored me," Mr Shugg said.

"When they started to tell me how serious it was I said, 'oh well, you'd better start listening son' and luckily for me I did heal.

"I had to change my entire lifestyle, so I got used to eating without salt and I started exercising.''

Mr Shugg was referred to West Moreton Health's Heart Failure Service who work with people living with heart failure to better understand and manage their condition and achieve their personal goals.

Heart Failure Service Clinical Nurse Consultant Alicia McClurg said the team supported patients through rehabilitation, starting with education to improve their health literacy and help empower them to make positive lifestyle decisions that will support a better quality of life.

"Our team includes doctors, nurses, exercise physiologists, psychologists, dieticians, physiotherapists, occupational therapists and social workers and we work with patients to help them achieve what matters most to them," she said.

"For some, that may mean being well enough to return to work, or to regain their strength and fitness so they can be independent and mobile enough to go to the shops by themselves.

"Others work on functional ability, like being able to take the washing off the line or walk to the letter box without tiring.

"We also put together a tailored exercise program to gradually build a patient's strength and fitness and we have seen people achieve some remarkable transformations.''

She said Mr Shugg was proof it was never too late to make positive lifestyle changes.

Last year Mr Shugg underwent hip replacement surgery, something that was only made possible following his successful heart rehabilitation.

"Now I don't even use a walking stick to get around; I've got my breath back and the colour in my face," Mr Shugg said.

"Life is excellent. Every time I wake up I think it's marvellous.''