Croí & Mayo Pharmacies launch free blood pressure checks for September

Own it, Check it, Sort it!

The Croí Third Age Mayo project, 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 people over 55 years of age who have not had their blood pressure checked in the past year.

High blood pressure (hypertension) can put a strain on your arteries and organs, which can increase your risk of developing serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. Members of the public found to have high blood pressure will be offered advice and information, as well as the opportunity to take part in a free blood pressure management programme, delivered by the Croí multi-disciplinary health team.

“If you’re over the age of 55, you should have your blood pressure checked once a year. A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high. If you have high blood pressure, you can work with your doctor to control it and reduce your risk of heart disease or stroke,” says Dr. Lisa Hynes, Croí Head of Health Programmes.

People over 55 years of age interested in a free blood pressure check can simply contact one of the participating pharmacies. See croi.ie/third-age-mayo-bp to learn more.

The pharmacies participating in the pilot programme are:

  • Achill – Molloy’s
  • Balla – Life Pharmacy
  • Ballaghaderreen – Molloy’s
  • Ballina – Molloy’s Garden St., Molloy’s Bunree Rd., McKane’s, Kilroy’s
  • Ballinrobe – Hynes
  • Ballyhaunis – Curley’s
  • Bangor Erris – Lavelle’s
  • Belmullet – Lavelle’s, McCormack’s
  • Castlebar – Treacy’s, MacAuliffe’s, O’Donnell’s
  • Charlestown – Colleran’s
  • Claremorris – Davey’s
  • 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 – Treacy’s, McVann’s, O’Donnell’s, O’Connell’s, Lally’s.

Listen to your Heart – Croí Webinar on Heart Valve Disease

Join Croí for a free Heart Valve Disease webinar on Thursday, September 16th from 7-8pm.

As we get older, the valves in our heart can become diseased or damaged. Heart valve disease is common, serious, but treatable. Heart Valve Disease Awareness Week is taking place from September 13th-19th, and Croí want to raise awareness about the common symptoms of heart valve disease and encourage the public to listen to their heart!

Register for our special Heart Valve Disease webinar here!

The “Listen to Your Heart” webinar will feature contributions from interventional cardiologist, Dr Samer Arnous, and James Penny, who is living with heart valve disease. MC on the evening will be Lia Hynes, Journalist with the Irish Independent, author and podcast host. The webinar will highlight the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease and how it is detected and treated. Members of the public will have the opportunity to put their questions to Dr Arnous.

  • When: Thursday, September 16th, 2021
  • Time: 7-8pm
  • Location: Online over Zoom
  • Price: FREE

A Christmas Message from Croí CEO, Neil Johnson

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I would like to take this opportunity to convey our sincere thanks to all those who supported us through this past year. It has been a very difficult year for everyone, not least those living with or affected by cardiovascular diseases (heart, stroke, diabetes & obesity). The Covid-19 pandemic has taken its toll in so many ways, it’s almost impossible to comprehend just how things have changed so quickly.

Like all charities, this year Croí faced unprecedented challenges at a time when it was most needed by those it supports. All face-to-face activity across our health programmes, patient and carer supports, research, education and fundraising events came to an abrupt halt in March. Literally overnight, our Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle became an empty shell, so in support of the national emergency we offered it to the HSE for use as a central contact tracing centre. Then our health team swung into action and pivoted as many of our health programmes and patient supports as possible to online ‘virtual’ delivery. In fact, they managed to very quickly create and deliver very effective programmes to high-risk groups and even launched a first-in-Ireland approach to services like cardiac rehabilitation. Additionally, despite all the challenges, we are glad to now be providing ‘virtual’ delivery of exercise classes, lifestyle change programmes, stroke support meetings and much more.

The biggest impact of Covid-19 globally has been on those living with known cardiovascular conditions. In the early days of the pandemic, extremely high levels of fear, anxiety, loneliness and isolation was experienced by those for whom access to primary and secondary care was severely interrupted; hospital appointments and procedures were postponed or cancelled and visits to those in hospital or care homes was denied. In parallel, many people experienced heart and stroke events but due to their fears of contracting the virus they delayed or even avoided seeking medical attention with resulting worse outcomes. Against this background we experienced a huge jump in the number of calls we were receiving from patients and family members so we launched a free support service, Heartlink West, which has now supported thousands of people across the West via daily telephone, online and virtual consultations. This new service allows people living with heart disease and stroke, or those concerned about their heart health, to contact Croí and connect with our multidisciplinary health team of nurses, dietitians, physiotherapists and exercise specialists. While the Heartlink West service will close for a short period over the Christmas holidays, it will open again on January 6th. (Tel 091-544310 or www.croi.ie)

Despite all the challenges and uncertainties faced by everyone over the past year, we are inspired and heartened by the many who continued to contribute financially at a time when they themselves were struggling. We couldn’t survive without this partnership and we wish to convey our deep appreciation and gratitude to all our donors, volunteers, corporate and business supporters who continued to give this year despite their own very difficult circumstances. We got through 2020 thanks to huge public support and a highly dedicated and committed staff, voluntary board of directors and a large team of volunteers. We don’t take this support for granted and we realise how fortunate we are to have this. We are preparing now for 2021 and we are committed to continuing to make a difference to the lives of those living with or affected by heart disease and stroke.

 

Wishing everyone a happy, healthy and peaceful Christmas and the very best for the new year.

Many thanks,

 

Neil Johnson,
Chief Executive, Croí

Two in a Row: Galway-based charity wins Research Paper of the Year!

NIPC
Prof J William McEvoy, Medical and Research Director, NIPC

The National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health (NIPC), based in the Croí Centre, Galway, has won the Research Paper of the Year Award at the 2020 Irish Healthcare Awards for the second year in a row!

NIPC, a subsidiary of Croí, was awarded the winning research paper for their JAMA-published medical paper challenging recent guidelines defining high blood pressure. The NIPC and NUI Galway investigation, led by Prof J William McEvoy, Medical and Research Director of the NIPC, called into question the validity of recent changes to treatment recommendations for a certain type of blood pressure patient, highlighting that up to 150,000 Irish patients may not need this additional treatment.

Announced on December 1, the Irish Healthcare Awards recognise innovation and excellence in the Irish healthcare sector and are Ireland’s leading Awards, now in their 19th year. Speaking about the awards, Neil Johnson, NIPC & Croí CEO, said: “We are delighted to win this award for the second year in a row! It’s great recognition for Irish cardiovascular disease prevention and the important work being undertaken at NIPC and NUI Galway.”

This award adds to NIPC’s winning streak at the Irish Healthcare Awards – in 2019, Croí and NIPC scooped three top awards. Learn more about the work at the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health by visiting www.nipc.ie.

Putting Focus on Stroke – World Stroke Day, Thursday October 29th.

As many as 1 in 5 people in Galway will have a stroke at some time in their lives. A stroke which is a ‘brain attack’ – is to the brain, what a heart attack is to the heart, says local heart & stroke charity Croí, ahead of World Stoke Day on Thursday October 29th.

“Stroke is one of the biggest causes of death and disability across the world” says Croí CEO Neil Johnson. “A stroke, which is a blood clot or bleed in the brain, can be fatal and cause death or cause irreversible damage to different parts of the brain which control, for example, our speech, our thinking or our movement. Many causes of stroke are completely outside of our control, however, there are some causes which we can prevent, such as high blood pressure or untreated heart rhythms such as atrial fibrillation.

To mark World Stroke Day, Croí invites people to a FREE Webinar on Thursday October 29th from 7pm – 8.30pm to learn more about stroke, stroke recovery and how to prevent one. A panel of local medical and nursing experts will speak on the causes and signs and symptoms of a stroke while a local stroke survivor will share her experience of stroke, stroke recovery and living life after a stroke. The event is supported by local company, Surmodics (Ballinasloe) who are corporate partners to the Croí Stroke Programmes & Supports.

Announcing details of the event, Croí CEO Neil Johnson says “this is a great opportunity to learn more about stroke, its impact and most importantly the steps we can take to reduce our risk of a stroke. People usually think of a stroke as an older persons problem but unfortunately, stroke has no respect for age or gender. In fact, we are increasingly seeing more cases or ‘young and working age’ strokes. The impact of a stroke can be devastating both for the survivor and their families. While incredible advances have been made in terms of stroke detection and stroke treatment, we have a long way to go in Ireland in terms of stroke recovery and rehabilitation post hospital discharge.”

Guest speakers on the Croí World Stroke Day Webinar on October 29th are:

  • Dr Niamh Hannon, Stroke Specialist, Galway University Hospital
  • Trish Galvin, Advanced Nurse Practitioner in Stroke Care, Galway University Hospital
  • Ciara Breen, Senior Occupational Therapist, Galway University Hospital
  • Norita Ní Chartúr, Stroke Survivor

Registration for this Webinar, which is FREE, is now open at www.croi.ie/strokeday20

Take Valentine’s Day to Heart!

BY CROÍ'S LEAD DIETITIAN, SUZANNE SEERY

As Valentine’s Day is approaching, it’s time to get creative! How about spending quality time with that special someone by preparing a heart healthy meal together? You can spice things up in the kitchen by using a range of herbs and spices to boost the senses and add plenty of flavour while avoiding added salt.

The colour red is often associated with love, passion and desire, so the recipes chosen feature red fruit and vegetables! Fruit and vegetables come in lots of different colours which represents the variety of antioxidants in these foods. Antioxidants are known to help keep our immune system strong, protect our body’s cells from damage and reduce the risk of developing diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

Red fruit and vegetables get their colour from Lycopene which is known to have antioxidant properties that may help to reduce blood pressure and cholesterol. Lycopene is more easily absorbed in the body when it’s cooked such as in the homemade tomato and basil soup recipe included in your Valentines dinner menu!

Not only will you have fun cooking together, you will also spend a lot less as this three course meal can be prepared for less than €20 (see recipes below)!

3 Course Valentine’s Dinner Menu:

This delicious soup costs less than €5 and takes only half an hour to make! It also contains a wide range of vitamins, minerals and antioxidants which contribute to strong hair, skin and nails, enzyme regulation and the prevention of cardiovascular disease.

Ingredients

  • 5 tbsp virgin olive oil
  • 1 bunch fresh basil
  • 1 bulb garlic cloves
  • 1 kg of vine / regular fresh tomatoes
  • 4 semi-sundried tomatoes

 

Method:

  1. Preheat the oven to 200°C/400F/Gas Mark 6.  Place the tomatoes on the vine and garlic in a large roasting pan, drizzle with 2 tablespoon olive oil and roast in the oven for 25 minutes or until the tomatoes have burst. Remove from the oven and leave to cool slightly.
  2. Squeeze the roasted garlic from its skin and remove the vine from the tomatoes.
  3. Place the garlic flesh and roasted tomatoes into a large pan, add the sundried tomatoes, basil (reserving a few leaves for garnish), and 3 tbsp olive oil. Blitz with a handheld blender until smooth, then add enough liquid to reach the desired consistency.
  4. Serve warm with a few leaves of basil torn, and some wholemeal brown bread.

This unique main course will bring your senses on a whole new adventure as you explore various Mediterranean spices. Not only will you be pleasantly surprised, you will also be doing your heart a favour. This lean-protein dish uses heart healthy olive oil or rapeseed oil, which are unsaturated fats. It also contains 3 servings of vegetables per portion and is high in vitamin C and fibre!

Ingredients:

  • 2 red peppers
  • 1 ½ tbsp olive oil
  • 124g lean turkey breast mince (< 8% fat)
  • ½ small onion
  • 2 garlic cloves grated
  • 1 tsp ground cumin
  • 3-4 mushrooms, sliced
  • 400g can chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tbsp tomato purée
  • 1 low-salt chicken stock cube
  • 2-3 teaspoons of  dried oregano
  • 60g low-fat mozzarella, grated
  • 150g green vegetables to serve.

Method:

  1. Heat oven to 190C/170C fan/gas 5. Halve the peppers length-ways, then remove the seeds and core but keep the stalks on. Rub the peppers with a drizzle of olive oil and season well. Put on a baking tray and roast for 15 mins.
  2. Meanwhile, heat 1 tbsp olive oil in a large pan over a medium heat. Fry the mince for 2-3 mins, stirring to break up the chunks, then tip onto a plate.
  3. Wipe out your pan, then heat the rest of the oil over a medium-high heat. Add the onion and garlic, stir-fry for 2-3 mins, then add the cumin and mushrooms and cook for 2-3 mins more.
  4. Tip the mince back into the pan and add the chopped tomatoes and tomato purée. Crumble in the stock cube and cook for 3-4 mins, then add the oregano and season. Remove the peppers from the oven and fill them with as much of the mince as you can. (Don’t worry if some spills out it – it will go satisfyingly crisp in the oven.) Top with the cheese and return to the oven for 10-15 mins until the cheese starts to turn golden.

Enjoy and feel guilt free in building your own fruit bowl! This activity is fun, rewarding and will allow you to show your great creative self.

Choose a mixture of berries such as strawberries, raspberries and seasonal fruits.

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Reflexology Helping Stroke Survivors

Excerpt from the 2018 Croí Annual Report

Penny Jones has been practicing complementary therapies for many years, and for the past six years she has worked with 800+ stroke survivors in Galway, in a Reflexology project funded by Croí.

One morning each week, Penny alternates her time between three stroke units: St. Anne’s Ward at University Hospital Galway, Hospital Ground, and Unit 4 at Merlin Park Hospital, meeting with patients who are recovering from acute and long-term affects of stroke.

The effects of stroke can vary widely and depend on what part of the brain has been injured. A stroke survivor may experience paralysis, muscle weakness or loss of sensation on one side of the body.

The Reflexology treatment supports the body’s natural healing process and helps patients recovering from a stroke to relax. “It works especially well before a patient receives physiotherapy as it improves circulation and the patient has greater awareness of the stroke affected part of the body,” says Penny.

Penny’s background is in Nursing and Yoga, which compliments her practice of Reflexology. “The hospital staff are so supportive and really see the benefits for patients. It’s a real treat for patients… I listen to their stories and the treatment allows them a chance to truly relax and feel at ease,” says Penny.

 

Read more about Croí’s Stroke Support services in our 2018 Annual Report!

What is Reflexology?
Reflexology was first practiced by the ancient Egyptians and is based on the principal that all the areas on the body are mapped out on the feet. During a treatment, the feet are worked on with finger pressure inducing deep relaxation, cleansing, revitalising and balancing the whole system.

FREE Heart Health Checks in Ballina for 65+ year olds

The Key to Healthy Ageing is a Healthy Heart says Croí – Announcing FREE Heart Health Checks for 65+ year olds

Date: Wednesday, November 13th
Location: Great National Hotel, Ballina, Co. Mayo

The key to healthy ageing is a healthy heart. Understandably, ageing naturally causes changes in the heart and blood vessels and these age-related changes often increase your risk of heart disease or stroke. People aged 65+ are much more likely than younger people to develop heart problems, but many of these conditions, if detected and treated early, can be managed so as to significantly reduce their impact on health and longevity.

In today’s world, thanks to medical and technological innovation, we are living longer. By the year 2050, 1 in 5 people worldwide will be over the age of 60 years of age. In fact, for the first time in human history we are close to a time when across the world there will be more people over the age of 60 than under the age of 15. The Croí Third Age Programme is focused on our increasingly ageing society and the aim is to ensure that as we live longer we also maintain our health and quality of life. The greatest barrier to this is age-related cardiovascular diseases. That’s why on June 19th, local heart and stroke charity, Croí, is offering free heart health checks at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway.

So, if you are over the age of 65Not attending a cardiologist, and have Not had a heart health check in the past 6 months (e.g., blood pressure check / your heart listened to), then Croí invites you to this special FREE heart health check.

Places are limited and you must register in advance.
Time slots are available from 10.00am – 5.00pm.

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

 

Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

Sold-out Night Run raises €70k for Croí!

The sold-out 5th Annual Croí Night Run took place last Friday (October 11) along the Salthill Prom in Galway. Over 1,500 runners and walkers, including 16 local corporate teams, came out in support of Croí’s largest fundraising event of the year. This year virtual runners even took part in the event, running the Night Run from Longford and Chicago! Croí is thrilled to announce that over €70,000 was raised, a new record. 100% of the proceeds will go to support Croí’s life-saving work in the community and at Croí Centre, thanks to the continued sponsorship of Evergreen Healthfoods.

The race was chip-timed and participants can check out their race time at croi.ie/nightrun. Keeping it close to home, Daragh O’Reilly, son of Kevin O’Reilly – Croí’s Board Chairman, crossed the finish line first with an incredible time of 16:55! Photos from the event are posted to Croí’s Facebook page @croiheartstroke.

“We are so overwhelmed by the incredible response this year! To sell-out in our 5th year is fantastic and we are already planning for a bigger and better event again next year. Let’s get 2,020 runners on the Prom for 2020! We’re so grateful to all our participants, volunteers and our generous sponsors Evergreen Healthfoods and iRadio for making this our biggest year yet. Every euro raised will go directly to supporting the work at Croí and the fight against heart disease and stroke,” says Christine Flanagan, Croí’s Fundraising Director.

Stay tuned for 2020! Due to the incredible demand this year, we will be adding extra spaces for 2020 and opening our registration early. Save the date for Friday, October 9, 2020.

 

See croi.ie for more information and follow Croí on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram @croiheartstroke.

5th Annual Croí Night Run
5th Annual Croí Night Run
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