September is synonymous with GAA and Croke Park, and the All-Ireland final weekends. Today Friday), Michael Lyster took a break from commentating on the finals to discuss World Heart Day on Friday, September 29. The RTE Sunday Game presenter wants 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 the 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.
“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.
For more information on heart failure call Irish Heart’s Freephone Nurse Helpline on 1800 25 25 50, or visit: Croi.ie, Heartbeat-trust.ie or IrishHeart.ie.