Niall Nugent is getting back to living after heart failure diagnosis

Let’s focus on living because even with heart failure you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

In September 2020, Niall Nugent’s life changed dramatically. Without any warning signs, he suffered a “widow-maker” heart attack, which had huge consequences for him and his family. Due to the damage to the heart muscle following the heart attack, Niall was later diagnosed with heart failure.

Niall, aged 49, is determined to manage his condition and get back to living a normal life. Speaking of his diagnosis, Niall said, “After my diagnosis, I told myself I would do whatever it takes not to be in this position again”. He has transformed his lifestyle with significant changes to his diet and exercise routine. “I have got back on the bike… I wouldn’t have cycled for over 30 years and now I am cycling on a regular basis. I am also going to learn how to swim. I am doing more exercise now than I ever did before.

Heart failure is a serious chronic condition but there are lots of things that you can do to help manage your condition, including adjusting your lifestyle, medical treatments and self-management.

Niall has experienced the benefits of Croí since he joined the Croí MySláinte Cardiac Rehabilitation Programme in 2020. The programme gave him the information, support and advice needed to return to everyday life after his cardiac event.

From the very start, Croí has been a life-saver for me. They have helped me to learn how to live with this condition and everything I learned from them was a huge benefit. The resources and information they gave me will support me for the rest of my life.

Two years on, Niall tells us, “My life since my heart attack has improved somewhat. My steps and distance are improving all the time, and I’m able to do more in my job. Physically I’m ok most days but it can be difficult mentally sometimes. It’s very challenging trying to come to terms with the actual heart event (I’ll never forget it) and then everything after it. It’s a ripple effect. Everything I knew before has changed and is completely different now.

My heart event turned my life upside-down but I have had to adapt. With my cardiology team and Croí, I am living my life as best I can.

Heart Failure Awareness Week 2022 runs from May 9th – 15th.

Croí MyBalance – Registration Now Open

Registration Details

When: Thursday evenings from 6 pm – 7 pm, starting March 31st (5 weeks)

Where: The programme will take place virtually via Zoom

Cost: €60

Do you:

  • Struggle with your weight?
  • Feel like you’re constantly on and off a diet?
  • Use food as a comfort or coping mechanism?
  • Feel overwhelmed and confused by the amount of diet information available?

Would you like to:

  • Try a new approach to healthy living?
  • Press pause on the desire for weight loss and focus on health gains?
  • Learn strategies for managing emotional eating?
  • Learn more about the concept of ‘Best Weight’ and how you can find yours?
  • Get an overview of the basics of healthy eating without strict food rules, calorie counting or restriction?

If so, you might be interested in taking part in our new 5-week Croí MyBalance programme.

This programme has been designed by Croí’s Specialist Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian, with input from Croí’s Health Psychologist.

The programme will take place virtually, via Zoom, on Thursday evenings from 6 pm – 7 pm, starting on March 31st. The sessions are led by Croí’s Dietitian but are designed to be interactive, giving you the opportunity to ask questions on a weekly basis. In addition to the live sessions, you will also receive weekly emails, worksheets and recordings.

The weekly topics are:

  1. Moving away from dieting and focusing on weight loss.
  2. Strategies for managing emotional and binge eating.
  3. Managing emotions with Dr Lisa Hynes.
  4. Foundations of a heart-healthy way of eating.
  5. Learn how to read food labels and advice on maintaining changes long term.

Registration Details

When: Thursday evenings from 6 pm – 7 pm, starting March 31st (5 weeks)

Where: The programme will take place virtually via Zoom

Cost: €60

For more information, please call (091) 544310 or email healthteam@croi.ie

Marie Dunican Is Managing To Live Well With Heart Failure

Let’s focus on living, because even with heart failure, you can still be you. Don’t let heart failure stop you. #HeartFailureAwareness

Like us all, Marie Dunican has had memorable birthdays. However, her most recent one proved to be more memorable than most, but for all the wrong reasons as she was diagnosed with heart failure. Despite this setback, Marie is determined to get her life back, get back to work and start living a normal life once again.

“I was diagnosed for my 54th birthday! I was often tired however I put that down to my job, but on the day it happened, I knew I wasn’t right. I wasn’t feeling great at 10pm that night and I said, ‘I need to go to hospital.’ I knew myself I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t climb the stairs, I got really sick and my lungs were full of fluid.”

Once admitted to hospital, Marie was diagnosed and treated for heart failure. With this diagnosis, Marie was able to start adjusting her lifestyle to better manage her condition. She monitors her symptoms on a daily basis to ensure that her condition is kept in check. “I weigh myself every day and I know by my weight if it goes up in a short space of time that the fluid is building up in my lungs and I need to contact the doctor immediately.”

A hiker by nature, Marie tries to get out and exercise regularly, particularly since her diagnosis. “I would be good for climbing hills. I would be fit and I get on the bike as often as I can.” Once she was discharged from hospital, Marie contacted Croí for some support and advice on how she should manage and live with her condition.

“I was really stressed the day I rang Croí. I rang for advice and to see how I can manage this. When I spoke to the nurse in Croí, she reassured me that help is available and gave me the support and information I needed.”

Heart failure can affect different people in different ways. It is estimated that 1 in 5 people are at risk of heart failure and it is the most frequent cause of hospitalisation in people over the age of 65.

Heart Failure Awareness week runs from Oct 4th – 10th. For more information, click here.