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How Long Will You Live?
How Long Will You Live? Revisited RTÉ One, Tuesday 8.30pm

Programme 6

Angela Byrne

Click on a link below to watch the show:
- Part One
- Part Two

57-year-old Angela Byrne has been running a B&B with her husband John for the last 8 years. She works 24 hours a day 7 days a week - will it be the death of her? How long will she live?

With guests coming and going all day, her diet is erratic and there's no time for exercise. Her family are concerned that she's working too hard. At 57 she should be looking forward to a long happy retirement but she feels old before her time.

She has to slow down, she already suffers from irritable bowel syndrome and high blood pressure, and she has a family history of heart problems. Just 6 months ago she was rushed to hospital with heart pains. Cardiovascular disease kills an estimated 13,000 Irish people a year - 42% of all deaths - and the major cause of this is lifestyle.

We sent Angela for a complete medical examination at Barringtons Hospital in Limerick. Unfortunately years of inactivity, bad eating habits and stressful work patterns have given us a lot to look for. One area we were already worried about was her blood pressure but even so the results today are a shock.

Blood pressure 173/104
173 over 104 is too high - ideally her blood pressure should be at or below 120 over 80. Angela is heading for a stroke or heart disease and reducing her blood pressure has to be our main priority. And although medication can help a change of lifestyle is the best long-term solution.

Thyroid Function
T4 12.3 (Normal level 10.3 - 24.5)
TSH 4.01 (Normal level 0.15 - 3.2)
These low readings may be contributing to Angela's lack of energy and weight gain.

(Healthy level 21 - 25)
At just over 13 stone or 83kg Angela is medically obese and therefore at increased risk of various cancers and heart disease.

Angela is predicted to die 8 years before the average life expectancy for an Irish woman.


  • Organise time off
  • Out of breath 30 mins, 5 times a week
  • More fruit and veg
  • 3 healthy meals a day (stop eating on the run)

Our plan for the next 8 weeks is about less work and more living. We want Angela to tackle her tiredness and weight gain with increased exercise, which will also be helped by her new thyroid medication. She also needs to improve her diet and stop eating on the run.


Time management expert AN COPPENS is convinced the key to changing Angela's lifestyle lies with changing the way she runs the B&B. An has years of experience working with small businesses.

If Angela's going to add years to her life she needs more than a lunch break.


Angela has still not implemented a regular lunch break but she has found time for her first bit of serious exercise in 15 years. After an hour of puffing and panting she' s beginning to realise just how difficult adding any years onto her life is going to be.


After 8 years of running the B&B every minute of every day Angela taking a lunch break is a monumental moment. If Angela wants to avoid serious illness, getting time off is vital.

We need Angela to realise that exercise doesn't have to be in a gym - doing anything that gets you out of breath will have health benefits. Angela and John used to ballroom dance years ago and we're hoping to reignite their passion for dancing. Not only will the endorphins released by exercise help Angela tackle her stress, but also by increasing her activity she will lower her blood pressure and reduce her risk of heart disease by at least 30 percent. Not bad for a few hours fun a week.


After the salsa Angela's determined to wrestle some more time away from the business. She's decided to leave all the preparation of the rooms to her part-time cleaners. All that remains is a quick check and the rest of the morning will be free.

Angela can't bear to let go but if she wants to live longer she has to decide what's more important - her business or her health. Angela's reluctance to delegate is going to make any meaningful lifestyle change impossible. It was time to send back business expert An Coppens.

An believes that what Angela needs is to learn how to train people properly - taking bookings is a good place to start.


Angela's daughter is in charge of breakfast for guests for the first time. This is to be a real test for Angela. Angela's been up for just 10 minutes and it soon becomes obvious that learning to delegate is going to take some time.


Delegation is still a struggle so we've decided to show Angela that there's more to life than work. Enjoying yourself is incredibly good for your heath. Happier people are less at risk of heart disease and a good laugh improves circulation, lowers blood pressure and boosts the body's immune system.

The less time Angela spends stressed and the more time she spends enjoying herself the longer she will live, whatever she does.


Angela has made real progress. Her daughter is now being trained to take bookings and she is getting a few hours off every day. Her fitness has improved and making time to relax away from work has allowed her to rediscover all the things that make her happy.


8 weeks ago, 57 year old Angela Byrne decided she wanted to feel younger and live longer. A series of medical tests revealed she had an underactive thyroid and was at real risk of stokes and heart disease. The tests have now been repeated and tomorrow she gets her results.

After two months hard work she's about to find out how long she will live.


Barrington's Hospital and Medical Centre
George's Quay
+353 61 490 500

University of Limerick
Co Limerick
Tel + 353 61 202895
Fax + 353 61 202868

Business Coach
B/right Business Coaching
Unit 14, Penrose Wharf
Penrose Quay

Dome Family Entertainment Centre
Dome Arena
Carlow Business Park
Sleaty Road

Anna and Vitor Oliveira
Salsa Mania

Results for Angela Byrne:

Thyroid function normal (previously underactive)
Blood pressure 144/86 (previously 173/104)
BMI 29 (previously 31)
LIFE EXPECTANCY - was 72, now 87

Angela Byrne