Croi My Action | Croi Heart & Stroke Disease

Croi Report Shows Heart Disease Prevention Makes Cents!

A report published today in Galway, Thursday September 29th, (World Heart Day) by the National Institute for Preventive Cardiology reveals that pioneering work being undertaken by the Heart & Stroke Charity Croi in preventing heart attacks and strokes is not only delivering significant health benefits but is also proven to be cost effective and cost saving.

The Croi MyAction Programme which has been up and running for the past 5 years in Galway is a gold standard chronic disease prevention programme, designed and delivered to achieve the latest European Society of Cardiology (ESC) guidelines for risk reduction. To-date, over 1,100 west of Ireland people (617 high risk individuals and their partners) have benefitted from this community based prevention programme and the results of this work make a compelling case for Irish health service investment in prevention.

An independent health economic evaluation funded by Healthy Ireland and conducted to assess the costs and benefits of the Croi intervention convincingly demonstrates that the programme delivers value for money with every €1 invested generating on average €8 in benefits -demonstrating for the first time in Ireland that prevention does work and investing in prevention can deliver economic as well as health gains.

Since the programme was established in Galway in 2009, Croi has invested over €700,000 ( largely funded through the charity’s own fundraising efforts) in delivering the 12-16 week intervention ‘free of charge’ to those who most need it and the evidence now shows that this investment has yielded benefits in the order of €4.8m. The report shows that the Croi programme beats usual care by delivering both improvement in life-years gained and significant health cost savings.

The Croi prevention programme which is uniquely a community based, family centred intervention delivered by a multidisciplinary team (nurse specialists, dieticians, physiotherapist/physical activity specialist and physician) is an intensive lifestyle and risk factor reduction programme where all patients and an accompanying family member are assessed at the start of the programme, on programme completion and again at 1 year.

The health benefits achieved by participants are impressive and include:

  • A smoking quit rate of 51% , the impact of which equates to a 50% reduction in cardiac events.
  • Greater adherence to the ‘Mediterranean Diet’ which is directly linked to a reduction in risk of heart attack and stroke.
  • An increase in physical activity targets from 13% to 52% which equates to upwards of a 30% reduction in cardiac events.
  • An average weight reduction of 3.7kg
  • An increase in achievement of recommended blood pressure targets from 55% to 74% which yields a 20-35% reduction in heart attack and stroke.
  • An increase in achievement of recommended cholesterol targets from 39% to 70% which reduces cardiovascular mortality by up to 15%

** All these outcome measures are obtained by objective measurement eg: blood tests, functional capacity test, BP measurement, smoke check carbon monoxide test.

Speaking at the launch of the report, Croi’s Director of Prevention Programmes, Irene Gibson said “ these results point to a new way of reducing the burden of cardiovascular disease. The Croi programme shows how our health service could be reshaped. With adequate investment, we could move from a reactive service which is overly reliant on acute hospital care and expensive cardiac procedures to a more proactive preventive model utilising community programmes as a third tier of healthcare” She went on to say that “the Croi programme is an excellent demonstration of how best practice guidelines can be translated into everyday clinical practice. Empowering people through an individualised approach to behaviour and lifestyle change is the key. However, there is a huge training need among healthcare professionals to equip them with the skills necessary to support and facilitate often complex lifestyle and behaviour change”

The Galway programme was recently selected as Ireland’s exemplar of best practice in chronic disease management and recommended to CHRODIS, a European platform that aims to identify, exchange and disseminate good practice in chronic disease management across Europe.

NOTE:

Croi, the west of Ireland Cardiac Foundation was established in Galway in 1985 and since then has been leading the fight against heart disease & stroke in the west of Ireland. In 2012, the Foundation opened the Croi Heart & Stroke Centre in Galway, being the first centre of its kind in Ireland dedicated to the development and testing of cardiovascular disease prevention initiatives and the promotion of recovery & wellbeing. In 2015, there were 26,406 visits to the centre and almost 12,000 individuals provided with health support through a wide range of training and education programmes across the region.

The National Institute for Preventive Cardiology was established by Croi as an affiliate of NUI Galway in 2014. The Institute aims to produce a new generation of scholars and leaders in cardiovascular health and disease prevention. The NIPC provides a portfolio of educational and training programmes in the prevention and control of heart disease, stroke, diabetes & obesity. This portfolio includes programmes designed specifically to meet the needs of the healthcare workforce in terms of continuous professional development including a range of formal postgraduate qualifications.

Galway United support World Heart Day with Croi Heart & Stroke

Galway United support World Heart Day with Croi Heart & Stroke

Already many local businesses have committed to participate in this novel health promotion activity aimed at raising awareness of how easy it is to take exercise in the normal working day. The ‘15 minute’ World Heart Day Lunchtime City Centre Walk will start and finish at the Browne Doorway (at the top of Eyre Square) leaving at 1pm. The walk route is exactly one mile through William Street; Shop Street; High Street; Quay Street over Wolfetone Bridge and back up Dominick Street; Bridge Street; Mainguard Street; Shop Street and finishing in Eyre Square.

Announcing details of the event, Croi’s Exercise Specialist Denise Dunne says “ we sit on average 8 hours a day and long hours of sitting increases our risk of heart disease by almost 50%. Standing and walking in the average working day helps burn calories which is good for weight control but taking as little as fifteen minutes a day during lunchtime will help lower blood pressure; increase good cholesterol, increase productivity and reduce stress levels”

Local Shoe Store Logues have partnered with Croi to help promote this novel health promoting event and everyone is encouraged to participate whether its hail, rain or shine.

Follow us on twitter for more #hearthealth pictures on World Heart Day – @croicharity

Malachy’s story

When I first heard about the Croí 'My Action Programme' . I threw my eyes to heaven. The Consultant from the stroke unit at UCHG recommended that I should do this. "Yeah right" , I thought; "not for me". I had been admitted to UCHG following a mini- stroke. I have always believed that I was immortal;that nothing could kill me. I ate what I liked, drank what I liked; I had no real exercise in my daily routine; I was a smoker and I failed to deal with stress in my life. I had an early warning sign about my blood pressure in early 2015 during a pre-employment medical. The doctor told me that my blood pressure was unacceptably high. So I googled this underlying, serious problem. I ignored medical advice as I am after all, immortal.

I had what was termed a 'mini-stroke' on 6th July. 2015. I had gone to the smoking area at work that evening at about 6pm. I had had a very stressful experience at around 4.30p.m. As I left the smoking area to return to my desk, I smiled to myself; "You were getting worked up about nothing, Mal; nothing at all". It was then that I found I had a strange sensation on my upper lip. It was as if I had eaten spicy food and had a remnant of cayenne pepper on my tongue. I remember thinking; "I didn't eat anything spicy today – just the usual normal sausage and chips in a bap with coffee and three sugars…what's that all about?". I sat back at my desk and as I began to use the mouse for my PC I found that I had pins and needles in my right hand; the right side of my face felt warm and tingly; an hour later my foot was tingling and my entire right side was becoming numb. It's like that feeling when you wake up after having slept on your arm and the feeling is coming back slowly. I knew that I had a left brain vascular event. But I am immortal.

I remember going to evening break, knowing there was something wrong with me, the whole right side of my body was tingling with pins and needles. I remember, over a toasted cheese sandwich telling Mary Higgins about my experience. I remember the expression on her face as I told her. "You need to go to casualty, Mal". I laughed and said "Well I had better phone Maura and get her to lay out my best suit!" She said; "Well you'll only need the jacket" -Why? "Well you might be going someplace hot!" Well it was one of the best laughs I ever had!! So I finished my sweet coffee and biscuits and drove home. Maura drove me to casualty at UCH Galway.

I spent around a day on a trolley, reading Walter Macken's 'The Silent People'. ' I was comfortable enough to be honest and Maura brought me in a Chinese takeaway. I fell into the most blissful sleep in the middle of reading Walter Macken's 'The Silent People'. They woke me next morning in the corridor; I was still on a trolley; for the life of me I cannot distinguish the difference between a hospital trolley and a hospital bed. They examined me and told me that I had experienced a mild stroke. I remember Maura asking me as I lay in my hospital bed:

-Are you not worried Mal?
-But I feel grand!
– I mean about your health?
-No, not really; I think I'm probably immortal
– Oh for goodness sake! (eyes to heaven moment)

To cut a very long story very short I was sent home with a cocktail of drugs and I became increasingly paranoid about my health. I was re-admitted to hospital in Sept 15 with a suspect heart condition. It was a false alarm. It was during this period that Croí called me and I was having too good a time in hospital; I enjoyed it immensely. I told them to call back later.

I remember being a 'public' patient and in a hospital bed across from someone paying thousands a year in private health insurance. We received exactly the same excellent care. I had paid thousands upon thousands myself as an employee for years upon years before I let it go. This story is getting longer as all life-stories do.

The Consultant wagged his head at me again and advised me to go on the Croí action programme. Croí called me again and, eyes raised to heaven again, this time I decided to go along with it. Well it was like being woken up from a long sleep! My beloved decided she would come along with me.

Therese did my blood tests; Denise assessed our BMI; Rachel assessed our dietary habits. These Three Musketeers changed my life. Eyes to heaven because they are angels! Maura came with me for support. Maura had a more serious stroke about 2014. We came alive in Croí!

I learned from Denise about the dynamics of exercise; from Therese about medicine, blood-pressure and cholesterol and from Rachel about food labeling and healthy eating! Therese is at the heart of Croi; she is so professional! She cares and is so kind, even when taking bloods! Denise is simply gas; I have never seen anyone hop like her as she says: "OK now lets's do 'Batman', and the sweat is dripping off us already! And then quiet Rachel begins to speak as we mop our brows and Rachel opens our eyes to food labelling. Maura said:

-"Food Labelling; I'm not going to that class!".

It was the food labelling class that was extraordinary.

My life has been changed. I exercise more, I get thrown out of supermarkets at closing time for spending too much time reading labels.

These Three Musketeers changed my life! Go Therese, Denise and Rachel. Well done to Croi in Galway!

More info on Croi MyAction at the following link: http://bit.ly/2d5VcG8

Couch to 5km week 3

This program is intended for a complete beginner, so as long as you are injury free and in relatively good health you should have no problems with getting through this challenge. Please consult your GP prior to partaking in physical activity just to be on the safe side.

We caught up with Ronan (couch to 5km coach) this morning and asked for some advice on staying motivated during these few weeks.

With winter well and truly on its way it is very easy to give into leaving your training until.. tomorrow, yep we have all done it. We are all masters of procrastination when it comes to being uncomfortable. Get comfortable with feeling a little uncomfortable.

You know its the first 2 minutes of your training that you may feel the wind or the rain. After that it won't matter what the weather is doing. A running jacket and hat and your pretty much sorted from the elements (your going to be sweaty anyway). Your main concern should be to stay warm and not get cold at any point during your training so layers are a good idea.

Remind yourself why you started training in the first place. To be fit, feel healthier, feeling better in your own skin, challenging yourself, in remembrance of a loved one.

Whatever it is remind yourself why you started training and use it as your motivation when you feel like… no ill do it tomorrow, do it today, there's no time like the present.

Week 3 of the plan is below, good luck, and remember any questions just ask!

Ronan

WEEK 3

DAY 1: 10 minutes of constant jogging ,10 minutes walking, 10 minutes jogging, 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging, 5 minutes walking and then stretch.

DAY 2: 1hour 20 minutes of a brisk walk

DAY 3: 15 minutes constant jogging, 5 minutes walking, 10 minutes jogging, 5 minutes walking, 5 minutes jogging, 5minutes walk. Then stretch

DAY 4: 1 hour 20 minutes brisk walk

Any questions don't hesitate to message our event page and we will get in touch!

Don't forget to register for Croi Galway Night Run – October 14th @ 8pm!

Couch to 5km – week 2

This program is intended for a complete beginner, so as long as you are injury free and in relatively good health you should have no problems with getting through this challenge. Please consult your GP prior to partaking in physical activity just to be on the safe side.

Any physical activity can be made that much easier if it is done with others and it is a great way to stay motivated. Especially as the nights are getting longer and the couch is calling, it is made that much easier to get out when you know someone is there with you through the tough patches in your training when your already a little tired from work, so the more the merrier.

Remember to always stretch and warm up correctly before you exercise and a good cooldown stretch at the end to ensure your muscles keep there suppleness and you don’t get to sore.

If you can, have a small snack no less that 45 minutes before your training and a good meal post exercise.

The very best of luck.just remember this is not to set records, its to get you to complete your first 5k.

WEEK 2!

DAY1: For 20 minutes, jog 200m then walk 100m. Keep this up for the hole 20 minutes, them walk for 20 minutes and stretch.

DAY2: 60 minute walk at a brisk pace

DAY 3: For 20 minutes, jog 400m then walk 400m. Keep this up for the whole 20 minutes. Then walk for 20 minutes and stretch.

DAY 4: 1 hour 20 minute walk, at a brisk pace.

Any questions don't hesitate to message our event page and we will get in touch!

Don't forget to register for Croi Galway Night Run – October 14th @ 8pm!

Hell & Back for team Scrambled Legs!

Taking on Hell and Back 2016, Aodhan and 21 of his team mates donned the red shirts for Croi. Hell & Back is an adventure run where participants must complete a 10-15km trail route crossing rivers and lakes, climbing hills and mountains and crawling through bogs and swamps! Aodhan and his team "Scrambled Legs" raised €3,332 for Croi, what a team!

Pictured presenting the cheque to Croi were (left to right) Ciara Ni Fhiommagain, Niamh Ni Mhaoileoin, Siobhan Ni Mhaoileoin & Aodhan O' Maoileoin.

Cholesterol: What is it and how can I manage it?

Cholesterol is a fatty substance which is essential for your body to function day to day. A certain amount of cholesterol is healthy as it forms part of the cell walls and is also necessary to make hormones. There are two main types of cholesterol – LDL or ‘bad’ cholesterol and HDL or ‘good’ cholesterol. HDL cholesterol is beneficial to the body. However, if there is too much LDL cholesterol it can be deposited along the walls of arteries, forming atheroma (fatty material) and cause blood vessels to become narrowed or blocked. Over time, a gradual build-up of atheroma can narrow the arteries that supply the heart with blood. This process is called atherosclerosis and may eventually cause symptoms of angina or result in a heart attack or stroke. One cause of high LDL cholesterol is a diet high in saturated fat.

Target Cholesterol Levels:

  • Total Cholesterol = Less than 5mmol/L
  • LDL (Bad) Cholesterol = Less than 3mmol/L
  • Triglycerides = Less than 1.7mmol/L
  • HDL (Good) Males = Greater than 1mmol/L
  • HDL (Good) Females = Greater than 1.2mmol/L

If you have Diabetes, Heart Disease, Kidney Disease, or if you have had a Stroke your doctor may prescribe a lower cholesterol target level.

Fat in foods

A small portion of fat is needed in our diet, but fat is considered to be less healthy than other nutrients as is can raise our blood cholesterol, increase our risk to heart disease and are high in calories which can lead to weight gain. Some fats are healthier than others. There are three main types of fat in food: saturated fat, monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. A diet high in saturated fat can increase our ‘bad’ LDL cholesterol. Replacing saturated fat with unsaturated fats is an important dietary change to reduce cholesterol levels. You should avoid saturated fats wherever possible as these can raise your blood cholesterol level.

Fat Explained:

1. Saturated Fat

Saturated fats are found mainly in animal products such as fatty meats, processed meats, full-fat dairy products, butter, coconut oil as well as cakes, biscuits, chocolate and many processed foods.

Low-fat options have less saturated fat.

2. Monounsaturated Fat

Monounsaturated fats should be used in moderation.

Using this type of fat may help reduce cholesterol levels.

It is found in oils such as olive oil and rapeseed oil, olive oil based spreads as well as nuts and seeds.

3. Polyunsaturated Fat

Polyunsaturated fats should be used in moderation.

Using this type of fat may help reduce cholesterol levels.

It is found in vegetable oils such as sunflower oil, nuts and seeds, polyunsaturated spreads, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, mackerel, trout and herring.

Note: All types of fat are high in calories and can lead to weight gain.

Tips to help lower cholesterol levels

  • If you are overweight, aim for 1-2 pounds weight loss per week.
  • Choose wholegrain varieties of cereal, bread, rice and pasta.
  • Aim for 5 servings of fruit and vegetables per day.
  • Limit red meat to maximum three times per week. Red meat includes beef, lamb, pork, veal and venison and ham. 1 portion of red meat should be no bigger than the palm of your hand. Make sure the red meat is lean and well-trimmed of visible fat.
  • Replace red meat with chicken, turkey, fish, eggs or beans.
  • Choose fish twice per week, with at least one day being oily. Examples of oily fish include sardines, mackerel, trout, herring or salmon. These foods are high in omega 3 oils which are good for your heart.
  • Choose low-fat dairy products e.g. low-fat milk, low-fat yogurt, low-fat cheese. Remember low fat dairy has the same amount of calcium as full-fat dairy. Focus on getting your calcium from low-fat milk and yoghurts, as opposed to cheese.
  • Limit cheese to less than two matchstick box size of cheese (approx. 30g) per week.
  • Eat no more than 4-6 eggs per week.
  • Choose healthier cooking methods – bake, boil, poach or grill food rather than fry.
  • Choose heart healthy oils when cooking e.g. rapeseed oil and use sparingly.
  • Choose a low-fat polyunsaturated or monounsaturated spread and spread it thinly.
  • Limit foods and drinks high in fat, sugar or salt (crisps, biscuits, chocolate, soft drinks).
  • If you drink alcohol, drink in moderation by keeping within the recommended weekly limits, which are 17 units for men and 11 units for women. Excessive alcohol can increase a type of cholesterol called triglycerides. Alcohol intake should be spread out over the week, aiming for at least two alcohol-free days per week.
  • 1 standard unit is:
  • One-half pint of beer, stout or lager
  • A small glass of wine (100mls)
  • One Irish pub measure of spirits
  • Aim for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. This can be broken down into 30 minutes on 5 days per week, or bouts of 10 minutes accumulated over the day.

All in a day’s work!

Local heart & stroke charity Croi are calling on all workers in offices and businesses in Galway city centre to take 15 minutes of their lunchtime on Thursday September 29th to join the Croi World Heart Day ’15 Minute’ Lunchtime Walk through the city.

Already many local businesses have committed to participate in this novel health promotion activity aimed at raising awareness of how easy it is to take exercise in the normal working day. The ‘15 minute’ World Heart Day Lunchtime City Centre Walk will start and finish at the Browne Doorway (at the top of Eyre Square) leaving at 1pm. The walk route is exactly one mile through William Street; Shop Street; High Street; Quay Street over Wolfetone Bridge and back up Dominick Street; Bridge Street; Mainguard Street; Shop Street and finishing in Eyre Square.

Logues support Croi Announcing details of the event, Croi’s Exercise Specialist Denise Dunne says “ we sit on average 8 hours a day and long hours of sitting increases our risk of heart disease by almost 50%. Standing and walking in the average working day helps burn calories which is good for weight control but taking as little as fifteen minutes a day during lunchtime will help lower blood pressure; increase good cholesterol, increase productivity and reduce stress levels”

Local Shoe Store Logues have partnered with Croi to help promote this novel health promoting event and everyone is encouraged to participate whether its hail, rain or shine.

Pictured announcing their support for the Croi World Heart Day ’15 minute’ Lunchtime City Centre Walk from Eyre Square at 1pm on Thursday September 29th are: (Left to right) Rochie Tynan, Manager Logues Shoes (Sponsors), Edwina Treacy, Fundraising Manager Croi and Joe Kavanagh, Corporate Relations Manager Croi.

Couch to 5km

This program is intended for a complete beginner, so as long as you are injury free and in relatively good health you should have no problems with getting through this challenge. Please consult your GP prior to partaking in physical activity just to be on the safe side.

Any physical activity can be made that much easier if it is done with others and it is a great way to stay motivated. Especially as the nights are getting longer and the couch is calling, it is made that much easier to get out when you know someone is there with you through the tough patches in your training when your already a little tired from work, so the more the merrier.

Remember to always stretch and warm up correctly before you exercise and a good cooldown stretch at the end to ensure your muscles keep there suppleness and you don’t get to sore.

Choose the right clothing and footwear, its not a bad idea to get online and look at some independent reviews if you are unsure on what is adequate. Also remember this is Ireland so make sure to wear good bright colours so you can be seen on those dark evenings.

If you can, have a small snack no less that 45 minutes before your training and a good meal post exercise. This will help with stopping any muscle soreness. Try and keep your diet as clean as possible, just like your car, if it is filled with dirty fuel it just wont work the same. Your body is no different from this, so plenty of greens fish, nuts, berrys and some fruit. Try and stay away from sugary drinks (this includes isotonic drinks). Ultra marathon runners and long distance cyclists wont take on such drinks until after 1hr 45min of training so this will give you a rough idea of the level you need to be at to require these drinks. That been said, stay well hydrated with some good old H2O.

The very best of luck.just remember this is not to set records, its to get you to complete your first 5k.

WEEK 1!

DAY1: 50 minutes of constant walking, cool down stretch

DAY2: Walk for 20 minutes, then 20 minutes alternate – jog 100m then walk 100m repeat , cool down stretch

DAY3: 60 minutes walk, cool down stretch

DAY4: For 20 minutes you will jog 200m then walk 200m repeat,keep this up for the entire 20 minutes, when the 20 minutes is up, walk for 15 minutes then do your cool down stretch.

Day 5: No less than 30 minutes walk

Any questions don't hesitate to message our event page and we will get in touch!

Don't forget to register for Croi Galway Night Run – October 14th @ 8pm!