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Miriam Margolyes diagnosed with spinal stenosis – symptoms to spot

Miriam Margolyes discusses ageing with Alan Cumming

Miriam Margolyes, 82, has shared the previous lifestyle choices she regrets as they paved the way to “major” health failure.

Worried about ending up in a wheelchair, the actress famous for her role as Professor Sprout in Harry Potter revealed she struggles to walk. 

Speaking on the How To Fail show, Miriam said: “The one thing I have not conquered and should have conquered is my weight. 

“I am a blubber mass. I am fat. And to be fat and 82 is truly pathetic.

“It’s such a defeat. A cream bun, a chocolate, a helping of chopped liver is more important than your health and aesthetic presentation? 

READ MORE Miriam Margolyes updates fans from hospital as she’s rushed to A&E

“No, it isn’t more important. It’s just greed, lack of discipline – all the things I’m embarrassed by in myself.”

The 82-year-old explained her walking problems are caused by spinal stenosis.

“It is a major failure and because of that I’ve got spinal stenosis, I can’t walk, I’m going to be in a wheelchair before I’m much older,” she added.

Most often targeting the lower back and the neck, spinal stenosis occurs when the space inside your backbone is too small, the Mayo Clinic explains.

Worryingly, this can put pressure on the spinal cord and nerves that travel through the spine. 

Spinal stenosis often causes no symptoms, but when red flags do occur, they tend to start appearing slowly and get worse over time. 

The health portal explains that exact symptoms depend on the part of the spine that is affected.

If spinal stenosis strikes in the lower back, you can experience pain or cramping in one or both legs.

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This warning sign appears when you stand for a long time or walk and it can get better when you bend forward or sit. 

The Mayo Clinic also notes that some patients with spinal stenosis in this area can also experience back pain.

However, if your neck is affected by the condition, you can experience the following:

  • Numbness
  • Tingling or weakness in a hand, leg, foot or arm
  • Problems with walking and balance
  • Neck pain
  • Problems with the bowel or bladder.

Miriam added that she’d like to have a “stronger” back and “longer” legs. “But f**k it, here I am,” she said.

Her honest confession comes after the star told Vogue she’s facing upcoming heart surgery after she was rushed to hospital last month. 

Describing the health issue as “unexpected”, she is now awaiting surgery to have a heart stent fitted.

The actress added: “When you’re young, you never think about death. You just think about your next f**k basically. I think about death a lot.”

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