Broadcaster Dáithí Ó’Sé Calls on ‘Invisible Nation’ to Actively Manage High Cholesterol Levels

  • Research from heart and stroke charity Croí reveals that 83% of over-45s in Ireland don’t associate high cholesterol with risks to heart health
  • Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) is the underlying cause of 85% of all heart attack and stroke-related deaths
  • Survey shows 60% of over-45s were not aware of atherosclerotic cardiovascular disease

Monday, 10 October 2022, Cork – Broadcaster, Dáithí Ó Sé, has called on all those over 45s to have their cholesterol level checked the next time they visit their GP as new research from the heart and stroke charity Croí, supported by Novartis Ireland, reveals that the majority of respondents (83%) do not mention cholesterol when thinking about their heart health.

Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD) is a silent, invisible disease that creates a large health and economic burden on society. ASCVD is caused by a fatty build-up in the lining of the artery walls and is a major driver of heart attacks, strokes and death. It is often invisible or unnoticed, as most people do not experience any significant symptoms until the atherosclerotic plaque unexpectedly ruptures, causing a heart attack or stroke.

A new worldwide movement kicks off in Ireland today at the National Monument in Cork, called Invisible Nation, aimed at highlighting and reducing the large number of preventable deaths from the silent, invisible Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease (ASCVD).

Tomorrow, Invisible Nation will launch in the European parliament as Neil Johnson, CEO of Croí addresses MEPs. Invisible Nation will bring together a worldwide network of patient organisations and other stakeholders which are committed to effecting systemic change in the management of ASCVD, under the auspices of the Global Heart Hub, of which Mr Johnson is the Founder and Executive Director.

In general, people don’t fully grasp the sheer scale and impact of ASCVD on healthcare systems as well as global mortality and morbidity. This is the same in Ireland, where Croí carried out research to measure and understand current levels of knowledge and awareness about ASCVD among those over 45 years of age in Ireland. The research showed that 60% of those over 45 never heard of the term Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease which is the underlying cause of 85% of heart attack and stroke-related deaths and disability in Ireland.

Reacting to the Croí research findings, Mr O Sé said: “I can speak from personal experience as I have high cholesterol and belong to the age group that needs to be vigilant about heart health. While many people are taking some steps to manage heart health, I am concerned that there is very low awareness about the ‘invisible risk’ of high cholesterol. I’d advise anyone in my age group to get their cholesterol checked the next time they visit a GP and if their cholesterol levels are above current clinical guidelines, they need to take a proactive role in managing their cholesterol.

Neil Johnson, Chief Executive of Croí, added: “ASCVD is the underlying cause of 85% of heart and stroke-related deaths, so it is worrying that most over-45s in Ireland do not know about this risk factor. This means that there is a large ‘invisible’ cohort of the population who are not focused on reducing their chances of a heart attack or stroke, and I would encourage them to visit to learn more about ASCVD and cholesterol.  It is time we put Atherosclerotic Cardiovascular Disease higher on the political and health agenda to have a positive impact on public health in Ireland and globally.

Dr Paddy Barrett, Preventive Cardiologist, the Blackrock Clinic, said: “As 80% of heart attacks and strokes are preventable, it is very important for the over-45s to be aware of the ‘invisible risk’ that high cholesterol poses. I would encourage people in this age group to get their cholesterol checked the next time they visit a GP and if their levels are above current clinical guidelines, they need to take a proactive role in managing their cholesterol.


Visit or or follow #InvisibleNation #ASCVD #Cholesterol for more information.

Invisible Nation is supported by Novartis Ireland.

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