A routine visit to the GP gave popular hairdresser Graham Carter, 59, the wakeup call he needed to make changes to his lifestyle, including cutting down on alcohol.

Graham, who lives in Sunderland, is backing Balance’s campaign to highlight the health harms of alcohol.

“A few years ago, I went along to my GP for a routine annual check-up. When my blood test results came back, they showed early signs of a pre-fatty liver – an indication that I could have problems with my liver in the future or that I could get diabetes. Although I was reassured it was an early sign, it gave me a shock.

“Drinking alcohol had become a daily habit. I decided to make some changes and cut down on alcohol, so I stopped drinking on work nights. I stuck to a couple of glasses only at the weekend and started to feel fitter and healthier.”

Last year, Graham underwent surgery to remove his gall bladder but was rushed back into hospital a few days later when he had a heart attack. The shock of his heart attack has made him even more determined to keep up a healthy lifestyle.

“Before my health scares, I thought I was invincible. I know a lot of people say the same, but I genuinely never thought it would happen to me.

“Although I have recovered from my heart attack and I’m feeling much better, it’s on my mind and I want to do all I can to be around for my family. I believe my old lifestyle had an impact on my health. I did like a drink, but I don’t miss it now. I feel healthier, brighter and more alert, and I’m more productive at work.”

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