September is synonymous with GAA and Croke Park, and the All-Ireland final weekends are marked in every fan’s calendar and anticipated all summer. Today Michael Lyster took a break from commentating on the finals to discuss another important September event, World Heart Day on Friday 29th. This September, the RTE Sunday Game presenter wants to encourage all of Ireland to unite and Stand Up to Heart Failure.
Heart Failure is a debilitating, life-threatening condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body because the muscle of the heart become too weak or too stiff to work properly2. However, with access to timely diagnosis, appropriate medical management and follow-up services, a patient’s prognosis can be significantly improved. It is estimated that 90,000 people live with the condition in Ireland1. Due to Ireland’s ageing population, heart failure is set to increase dramatically, leading to an increase in hospitalisations from heart failure of more than 50% over the next 25 years3.
Campaign ambassador Michael Lyster opened up about his own experience with heart failure at today’s launch: “Croke Park is one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, with an impressive match day capacity of 82,300. But if everyone in Ireland living with heart failure was invited to Croke Park for the All Ireland final, we would have to build an extra stand as there are 90,000 people living with this chronic condition, and they certainly wouldn’t be standing in the Hill for the duration of a 70-minute game.
For me, heart failure became apparent in the middle of my ‘busy’ season, championship time, and gradually I started feeling worse and worse. I had no energy, I was waking up in the middle of the night panting for breath. I couldn’t ignore it any longer; I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with heart failure.
It was important for me to get involved in this campaign as I understand how frustrating it can be for those living with heart failure, as it is often a forgotten condition. Heart failure is something you can manage on a day to day basis. Yes, you have to make sure you take your medication, watch what you eat and drink and get your exercise. But you can’t let it hold you back. I had to stand up to my condition, not let it impact my work or my life. I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the symptoms and risk factors, and to visit your doctor if you have concerns and to make sure you get the best treatment available.”
Stand Up to Heart Failure, a campaign supported by Croí, Heartbeat Trust, Irish Heart, and Novartis, aims to raise awareness of the red flag symptoms of heart failure. These symptoms include; fatigue; shortness of breath, especially with activity or lying flat; swollen feet or ankles. Common risk factors of heart failure to be aware of are; high blood pressure, previous heart attack(s), and diabetes. If you are concerned about heart failure, please speak to your doctor for more information.
Neil Johnson, CEO of Croí said; “Support for people with heart failure is essential as learning to live with a new diagnosis can be confusing and sometimes overwhelming for both the patient and their family. Croí is dedicated to improving the quality of life for all those living with heart failure by offering support and advice. For more information on heart failure please visit the Heart Failure Toolkit available online at Croi.ie and also through Heartbeat-trust.ie.”
Prof Ken McDonald, Clinical Director of Heartbeat Trust said; “At the Heartbeat Trust we are delighted to be part of the collective effort to raise awareness of this condition. The Heart Failure Toolkit is a wonderful online resource for anyone interested in learning more about the condition and I encourage those who are concerned to utilise it. The Heartbeat Trust is here to help all those living with heart failure in Ireland. Awareness of the condition, its symptoms and preventive measures is so important to ensure a long and healthy life.”
Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director of Irish Heart said; “Heart failure is a very manageable condition if caught and treated early. If you are worried about heart failure please speak to your doctor or ring the national heart and stroke nurse helpline on 1800 25 25 50 available Mon - Fri 9am - 5pm, Thurs till 7pm. Irish Heart is here to offer support and advice to anyone effected by the condition.”
Loretto Callaghan, Managing Director Novartis Ireland said; “Novartis is proud to continuously work with Croí, Heartbeat Trust and Irish Heart to support those living with heart failure in Ireland. Together we can all Stand Up to Heart Failure.”
Know the risk factors and symptoms of heart failure, and join us as we Stand Up to Heart Failure this September. For more information on heart failure please call Irish Heart’s Freephone Nurse Helpline on 1800 25 25 50, or visit: