Croí teams up with Mayo pharmacies to offer free blood pressure checks in September

Own it, Check it and Sort it as part of Croí’s Third Age Mayo Programme

Did you know that uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke? The Croí Third Age Mayo programme, which aims to promote healthy cardiovascular ageing, is delighted to partner with local pharmacies across Mayo for the month of September to offer free blood pressure checks to anyone who has not had their blood pressure checked in the past year, with a particular focus on those over 55 years of age.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. This causes many harmful effects on the body and if left untreated can significantly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure typically has no symptoms – the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly (at least once a year).

We’re delighted to be back in Mayo this September following the success of our May Measurement Month campaign. The prevalence of high blood pressure in Ireland, particularly for people over the age of 55, is startling. At last year’s blood pressure measurement event in Mayo, 51% of people had elevated blood pressure, and only 37% of people taking medication for high blood pressure had a reading that was under the recommended level. Early detection is key and will save lives”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

From September 1st  – 30th, over 30 pharmacies across Mayo will be participating in this initiative. Visit one of the participating pharmacies for your free blood pressure check and ‘Own it, Check it, Sort it!’. For the latest list of participating pharmacies, please visit croi.ie/thirdagemayobp.

New Croí ‘My Blood Pressure’ Programme
Members of the public found to have high blood pressure will be offered information and advice, as well as the opportunity to take part in a free Croí blood pressure management programme delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team.

The participating pharmacies include:

Achill – Molloy’s; Balla – Life Pharmacy; Ballaghaderreen – Molloy’s; Ballina – Molloy’s (Bunree Road), Molloy’s (Garden Street), Kilroy’s, Mulligan’s; Ballindine – Healthwest; Ballinrobe – Hynes, Ryder’s Pharmacy; Ballyhaunis – Curley’s, Healthwest; Bangor Erris – Lavelle’s; Belmullet – Lavelle’s, Reilly’s Total Health; Castlebar – O’Donnell’s, Moran’s, Treacy’s, Staunton’s; Charlestown – Colleran’s; Claremorris – Haven Pharmacy, Aran Health Pharmacy, Lloyds; Crossmolina – Molloy’s; Foxford – Heneghans; Kilkelly – Life Pharmacy; Killala – Lavelle’s; Kiltimagh – Heneghans; Knock – Life Pharmacy; Louisburgh – Staunton’s; Westport – O’Connell’s, O’Donnell’s, McVann’s Care Plus, Treacy’s.

Croí Partners with Barbers in Ballina to Raise Awareness of the Risks of High Blood Pressure

There’s only one way to know if you have high blood pressure: Measure it!

A trip to the barbers could have you looking and feeling better thanks to Croí, the heart and stroke charity, and the barbers of Ballina. To coincide with Men’s Health Week from June 13th – 19th Croí is collaborating with barbers and pharmacies in Ballina to raise awareness of the importance of regular blood pressure checks and managing high blood pressure.

Having your blood pressure measured is quick and easy!

High blood pressure (hypertension) is a sign that the heart and blood vessels are being overworked which in turn increases your risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Croí encourages men this Men’s Health Week to know their numbers and visit their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check.

During Men’s Health Week, customers to the participating barbers in Ballina will receive information on the importance of blood pressure checks along with a list of pharmacies in the town offering free blood pressure checks. Participating barbers in Ballina include Nikki’s Barbers, Amanda’s Barbers, Lewy’s Barber Lounge, Kev’s Kutz, Gabby’s Turkish Barber, O’Rourkes Barbers, Hallahan’s Barbers and Ricky’s Barbers.

Commenting on the initiative, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes, Dr Lisa Hynes, said:We want the people of Mayo to become more aware of their cardiovascular health and this campaign during Men’s Health Week really allows us to do that in a very focused environment. 38% of men in Ireland are living with high blood pressure and we want to do all we can to reduce this number. After all, getting your blood pressure checked is quicker than getting your hair cut and it could save your life!

The participating pharmacies in Ballina include Molloy’s (Bunree Road), Molloy’s (Garden Street), Kilroy’s (Emmet Street) and McKane’s (O’Rahilly Street).

For more information visit www.croi.ie. Follow Croí on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter @croiheartstroke.

Click to enlarge/download
“This Men’s Health Week take just a few minutes to visit your local pharmacy and get your blood pressure checked, it’s quicker than getting your hair cut. Own it, check it and sort it!”, says former Mayo GAA footballer, Liam McHale, pictured with Nikki Galvin from Nikki’s Barbers in Ballina and Paul Cunnane, Croí Third Age Mayo Project Coordinator.

Take your health to heart this June with Croí’s Mayo Health Fairs

See croi.ie/healthfairs for more information

Croí, the heart and stroke charity, is hitting the road this June with heart health fairs in four locations across Mayo – Castlebar, Mulranny, Swinford and Ballina. Attend a free health fair to meet the Croí Health Team and get your blood pressure checked, get your heart health questions answered by experts, participate in interactive sessions, and meet with active community groups in your area.

The Croí Health Team and community partners will be in Castlebar Mitchels GAA club on June 2nd from 1 pm, The Mulranny Park Hotel on June 7th from 11 am, The Gateway Hotel, Swinford on June 9th from 11 am and Ballina Stephenties GAA club on June 14th from 1 pm.

The Castlebar and Ballina health fairs will commence with a free blood pressure check event at 1 pm and run until 6.30 pm. At 7 pm in both locations, there will be a free public talk on the importance of healthy ageing, with a focus on managing high blood pressure. The Mulranny and Swinford events will commence with a free blood pressure check event at 11 am and conclude at 4 pm.

All four health fairs will have participation from local community groups who will have stands and information on the services they offer in those areas. There will be educational talks and practical demonstrations conducted by members of the Croí Health Team and community groups.

All those who attend and get their blood pressure measured will be entered into a draw to win one of two Garmin smartwatches! Refreshments will also be available at all four locations.

We are thrilled to once again be back in the Mayo community to raise awareness of heart health. We have an exciting lineup of talks and demonstrations planned for these four health fairs and we are delighted to collaborate with a host of community groups from across Mayo. Throughout 2022, the Croí Third Age Mayo Programme is putting a spotlight on high blood pressure – early detection is key and will save lives”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

For more details on the Croí Mayo Health Fairs, including a list of participating community groups, please visit www.croi.ie/healthfairs or call Croí on 091-544310.

Croí teams up with pharmacies across Mayo to offer free blood pressure checks for the month of May

Own it, Check it and Sort it with May Measurement Month
as part of Croí’s Third Age Mayo Programme

Did you know that uncontrolled high blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke? The Croí Third Age Mayo programme, which aims to promote healthy cardiovascular ageing, is delighted to partner with local pharmacies across Mayo for the month of May to offer free blood pressure checks to anyone who has not had their blood pressure checked in the past year, with a particular focus on those over 55 years of age.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, occurs when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high. This causes many harmful effects on the body and if left untreated can significantly increase your risk of having a heart attack or stroke. High blood pressure typically has no symptoms – the only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly (at least once a year).

We’re delighted to be back in Mayo this year following the success of last year’s May Measurement Month campaign. The prevalence of high blood pressure in Ireland, particularly for people over the age of 55, is startling. At last year’s blood pressure measurement event in Mayo, 51% of people had elevated blood pressure, and only 37% of people taking medication for high blood pressure had a reading that was under the recommended level. Early detection is key and will save lives”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

From May 3rd – to 31st, over 30 pharmacies across Mayo will be participating in this initiative. Visit one of the participating pharmacies for your free blood pressure check and ‘Own it, Check it, Sort it!’. For the latest list of participating pharmacies, please visit www.croi.ie/third-age-mayo-bp.

New Croí ‘My Blood Pressure’ Programme
Members of the public found to have high blood pressure will be offered information and advice, as well as the opportunity to take part in a free Croí blood pressure management programme delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team.

The participating pharmacies include:

Achill – Molloy’s; Balla – Life Pharmacy; Ballaghaderreen – Molloy’s; Ballina – Molloy’s (Bunree Road), Molloy’s (Garden Street), Kilroy’s, McKane’s; Ballinrobe – Hynes; Ballyhaunis – Curley’s; Bangor Erris  – Lavelle’s; Belmullet – Lavelle’s, McCormack’s; Castlebar – O’Donnell’s, MacAuliffe’s, Treacy’s, Staunton’s; Charlestown – Colleran’s; Claremorris – Haven Pharmacy, Aran Health Pharmacy; Cong – Cong Pharmacy; Crossmolina – Molloy’s, Quinn’s; Foxford – Heneghans; Kilkelly – Life Pharmacy; Killala – Lavelle’s; Kiltimagh – Heneghans; Knock – Life Pharmacy; Louisburgh – Staunton’s; Swinford – O’Connell’s; Westport – O’Connell’s, O’Donnell’s, McVann’s, Treacy’s.

Living Well with Cardiovascular Disease – Managing Your High Blood Pressure

Register at www.croi.ie/webinar or call Croí on 091-544310

Are you, or a loved one, living with high blood pressure? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts for a webinar to learn how to manage your high blood pressure. The free webinar takes place online via Zoom on Thursday, April 28th from 7 – 8 pm.

Expert guest speakers on the night include Prof Andrew Murphy, GP and Professor of General Practice, NUI Galway; and Eoin Keating, Physiotherapist. The interactive panel discussion will address your questions on living with high blood pressure. This event is in recognition of World Hypertension Day on May 17th.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure increases your risk of heart disease and stroke. It’s startling to know that Ireland has one of the highest rates of high blood pressure internationally, but among the lowest levels of diagnosis, treatment and control of the condition. Join us and connect with the experts at this free Croí webinar”, says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

Register now and submit your questions at www.croi.ie/webinar, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event!

Five Things You Should Know in Taking Control of Your Blood Pressure
  1. Be informed – High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, happens when the force of the blood flowing through your blood vessels is too high. Left untreated, it can significantly increase the risk of having a stroke or heart attack.
  2. Get checked out – Known as a silent killer, high blood pressure usually has no symptoms. So, the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked out.
  3. Know your pressure – You should have your blood pressure checked at least once a year. The recommended target level for blood pressure is <140/90 mmHg, however, if you have diabetes, heart disease, kidney disease, or have previously had a stroke, you may be prescribed a lower target.
  4. Minimise the risks – There are steps you can take to lower blood pressure, such as maintaining a healthy weight and becoming more physically active, stopping smoking, avoiding added salt, drinking alcohol in moderation, increasing your intake of fruit and vegetables, and learning ways to cope with stress.
  5. You can be treated – If lifestyle measures on their own are not effective in keeping your blood pressure under control, then you may need to take prescribed medications in addition. These are usually for the rest of your life.

Mary’s Story, Croí Programme Participant

“I found it great motivation to look at your diet, your weight and your exercise levels… it started me off on a regime of trying to get more exercise,” says Mary Lyons from Ballyhaunis, Co. Mayo.

Watch now to hear how the Croí Third Age Mayo blood pressure management programme helped Mary and her husband take control of their heart health.

You can start making healthy choices too by accessing our heart health information on our website.

This programme was delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team. ❤️

Valentine’s Day – The Heart of the Matter

Valentine’s Day has many of us thinking of matters of the heart, but it might be a good time to consider your heart health and assess how healthy your heart actually is.

While heart disease remains one of the leading causes of death of men and women in Ireland, and worldwide, warning signs are not always obvious.

Prioritise your heart, and the hearts of your loved ones, this Valentine’s Day, by being proactive about your heart health and supporting your loved ones to do the same.

 

Do you know your numbers? If you don’t know any of the readings below, we encourage you to make an appointment with your GP to get informed and take control of your heart health.

Blood Pressure: The ideal is 140/90 mmHg or below. Higher levels increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Total Cholesterol: Levels of five or above increase your risk of heart disease and stroke.

Weight: Carrying excess weight can increase your risk of heart disease. Did you know that if your Body Mass Index (BMI) is above 25, losing 5-10% of your starting weight can reduce your blood pressure and cholesterol?

Waist Size: Carrying most of our weight around our middle can increase our risk of heart disease and stroke. For men, aim for a waist circumference of less than 94cm, and for women, aim for less than 80cm. Note – measure about an inch above your belly button.

 

80% of Heart Disease and Stroke Can Be Prevented

A risk factor is anything that raises a person’s chance of developing heart disease and stroke. There are two types of risk factors, those you cannot change, e.g. age and family history, and thankfully those you can change, e.g. blood pressure, cholesterol and physical activity. All of the risk factors above are in our control and 80% of heart disease and stroke can be prevented by being proactive and making the necessary lifestyle changes.

 

Listen To Your Heart

If you would like more information about risk factors or support on taking care of your heart health, Croí’s FREE telephone helpline, Heartlink West, is live weekdays from 9 am – 5:30 pm on 091 544310. When you call, you will be connected with one of our Cardiac Nurse Specialists. Alternatively, you can email the Croí Health Team at healthteam@croi.ie or join our weekly Heartlink West Virtual Chats.

Top tips for Mindful Eating this Christmas

While Christmas is an enjoyable time, there’s no doubt that food is a central component. This can make it a challenging time if you struggle around food or have a difficult relationship with foods. Learning to eat more mindfully and intuitively can help you feel more in control around food, feel less guilt about food choices and is a valuable skill to practice throughout the year, not just at Christmas. Learning to eat mindfully takes time, however, here are our top tips for getting started:

  1. Eat foods that make you feel good – physically and mentally. For some people, this could be a creamy hot chocolate while watching your favourite Christmas movie or a mince pie with a friend. These foods might nourish our mind and our mood. Other times you might crave a piece of fruit, an extra helping of veg with your dinner or an alcohol-free day because you feel like your body is craving this. There are no ‘good or bad’ foods, just food. Same as we are not ‘good or bad’ depending on the foods we eat. Removing feelings of shame or guilt around food gives us so much more freedom and ultimately, we are more likely to choose a balanced diet.
  2. Check in with your hunger and fullness signals. Sometimes we can become out of touch with our hunger and fullness signals and not trust ourselves to know when we are hungry or full. This can often be a result of years of dieting, following restrictive meal plans and being told exactly what and when to eat. No wonder we can be scared to trust ourselves. However, we can learn to connect with these signals again. You can do this by regularly using the hunger scale (right). Ideally you would like to be around a 4 before a meal and 6 after a meal. Look out for hunger signals like stomach grumbling, constant thoughts about food, low energy levels, feeling faint or irritable. It’s also important to check in with your fullness signals, particularly at Christmas when we tend to be surrounded by endless supplies of food. We can override the feeling of fullness and intentionally eat more, sometimes to the point of feeling uncomfortably full. Check in with yourself while you are eating and if you’re starting to feel satisfied, stop. You an always come back and finish the meal later if you are still hungry.
  3. Check in with your mood. If you are craving something to eat, but you don’t actually feel hungry, check to see if this is more of an emotional hunger rather than a physical hunger. Often, we crave certain foods in response to emotions such as stress, boredom, loneliness, tiredness etc. Ask yourself ‘What emotion am I feeding?’. Over time this helps us to separate physical and emotional hunger and can help us to learn other ways of coping with our emotions. Some things that can help would be to include some gentle movement of exercise, getting stuck into your favourite hobby or taking 10 minutes to practice some mindfulness.
  4. Ditch the weighing scales. Your value is not measured by a number on the scales. Your health cannot be measured by a number on the scales. If, like a lot of people I work with, you find the scales can affect your mood and your behaviours then get rid of it. Focus on measuring your progress in other ways – are you noticing an improvement in your mood, energy levels, sleep, fitness? Do you feel like you are developing a better routine and healthier habits? Have you noticed improvements in your blood pressure, cholesterol or diabetes control? These are the ways you should measure your progress, not by a number on a weighing scales.
  5. Don’t plan to start a diet in January. You may be familiar with the cycle – restrict in November, go all out in December, and then come January 1st clear out the cupboards and go cold turkey. Only to eventually fall back into old habits after a few weeks. This approach doesn’t work long term. Finding a way of eating and exercising that is sustainable, that doesn’t restrict foods and doesn’t make us feel guilty or ashamed when we inevitably go ‘off plan’ is a much healthier and more effective approach. Why not try set goals that are realistic and achievable? For example, aim to start eating 3 meals per day and not skipping lunch, try to get one less takeaway per week and aim to go for at least 3 half hour walks each week. These are much more realistic goals than ones like saying you will cut out all sweets, chocolate, takeaways, cook all meals from scratch and exercise every day for the next year. Don’t set yourself up to fail.

Written by Aisling Harris, Croí Cardiac
and Weight Management Dietitian 

Warm-Up this Winter with Heart Healthy Porridge

Warm-up this Winter with a bowl of porridge and delicious toppings!

Did you know that porridge has been shown to help reduce cholesterol and blood pressure? It’s also packed with fibre, vitamins and minerals – making it a perfect, heart healthy breakfast.

Watch the video below where Croí Dietitian, Aisling, shares her favourite porridge toppings.