Michael’s second chance at life
At 3am on July 9 last year, Michael Zigomanis' heart stopped.
Having gone into cardiac arrest, Michael was gasping for breath. His wife Lisa sprang into action, calling an ambulance and starting the CPR that would save her husband's life.
For eight minutes Lisa kept going until paramedics arrived. It took 28 minutes before paramedics were able to bring Michael back to life.
He was rushed to The Alfred and three days later he woke up in intensive care.
Michael doesn't remember any of this now but his family went through a harrowing period of uncertainty, not knowing if he would regain conciousness or whether he had suffered brain damage.
Years ago, Michael was diagnosed with cardiomyopathy - a lifelong disease of the heart muscle that gradually weakens the heart over time. But because he didn't feel ill, Michael just got on with his life.
These days Michael is much healthier - thanks to the support of his family, the nutrition team at The Alfred and his determination to get better.
During his stay at The Alfred, Michael worked with Dietitian Angie Passater to make some lifestyle changes that would improve his health in the long run - including cutting back on salt.
"I quit smoking and I'm a lot more conscious of what I'm eating, I'm also more aware of my work-life balance," Michael said.
"We always ate home-cooked meals for dinner but at work I'd eat a lot of fast food and you just don't realise how much salt you're eating.
"My family, especially Lisa and my son, Jack, has been so supportive. We've all made an effort to eat better and we also try and exercise together, like going for walks every couple of days."
Angie said reducing salt and saturated fats, as well as doing more exercise, was crucial for people with heart disease.
"The average adult should not eat more than 2000mg of sodium (salt) per day, but we often don't realise we consume a lot more than that. It's really important to read the labels and look at the sodium content on packaged food and if it's too much, consider some healthier alternatives."
Michael now has an Implantable Cardioverter Defibrillator (ICD) fitted, and takes medication to keep his heart in good health.
"I didn't listen to my doctor when I should have. Now I look after myself and I feel much better for it."
This week, national Nutrition Week, is the perfect time to get inspired about your health.