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Thursday, 31 January, 2002, 18:21 GMT
Dice were loaded for Elvis's heart
Elvis Presley : a prime candidate for heart problems
Elvis Presley : a prime candidate for heart problems
It wasn't just Elvis's love of fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches which put him at risk of heart disease.

A UK researcher says low weight as a baby and child increased his risk of cardiovascular disease.

The King of Rock and Roll died on August 16, 1977 aged 42 after being found unconscious on a Memphis bathroom floor.

The cause of death was cardiac arrhythmia, a condition where the normal rhythm of the heart is disturbed.

Elvis facts
Sold more than one billion records worldwide
131 albums and singles went gold, platinum, or multi-platinum in US alone
149 songs on the Billboard's Hot 100 pop chart in US
Starred in 30 feature films
One of Hollywood's top box office draws and highest paid actors for many years
At the time of his death, he was obese and was taking dozens of prescription drugs.

But in a paper for Australian and New Zealand heart specialists, Professor George Davey-Smith, an epidemiologist from Bristol University said Elvis's childhood problems could also have contributed to his heart problems.

Professor Davey-Smith told The Australian newspaper: "Elvis had a very low birthweight, being the survivor of twins, and was raised in abject and grinding poverty."

Poverty

"We also know that people who have a low birthweight and low childhood weight who become obese in later life are at substantially greater risk of cardiovascular disease."

Professor Davey-Smith also told the newspaper that poorer people were up to three times more susceptible to heart disease and stroke.


I don't know if you could say Elvis was destined to die from a heart-related problem, but certainly the dice was loaded

Andrew Tonkin, Australian Heart Foundation
He said a UK study which looked at death and social status in thousands of people in a 70 year period had demonstrated the link between ill-health and inequality.

Andrew Tonkin of the Australian Heart Foundation told the newspaper: "I don't know if you could say Elvis was destined to die from a heart-related problem, but certainly the dice was loaded."

See also:

19 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Elvis medical records unsold
27 Nov 01 | Music
Elvis to receive gospel honour
16 Mar 01 | Entertainment
Elvis: The way he was
11 May 01 | Health
Poverty raises heart attack risk
22 Jun 01 | Health
Heart link to problem pregnancies
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