Donegal Night Runner thanks Croí for support

Anita Lilly, from Ballyshannon in Donegal, was not very familiar with Croí when she first completed our Night Run virtually last year, however, Anita and Croí’s paths crossed months later when Anita’s father suffered a heart attack and needed to spend 10 days in coronary care. Anita stayed in our Courtyard Apartments, free accommodation for the families of loved-ones receiving heart or stroke care in Galway, so she could stay in Galway and be close to her father while he received care.

Anita says, “I was just amazed by this service and the work Croí do. The accommodation was so lovely and the staff were so caring.” Anita is all set to take part in the Night Run again this year on Friday, October 8th, and “every year going forward!”

Anita will be doing the Night Run again this year, and every year going forward, as Croí is now extremely significant to her and her family. She encourages others to take part in the Croí Night Run, on Friday, October 8th, to raise money for the work that Croí do. “It’s so important. They deserve every penny for the unbelievable work that Croí do”.

Learn more and register for the Night Run.

The power of cycling: Pat Horan, 70, shares his recovery story

This week is Men’s Health Week. Croí cyclist, Pat Horan, shares his story to help raise awareness and support others.

Pat Horan, from Aglish in North Tipperary, credits his daily hour of cycling for keeping him fit and healthy at 70 years of age. Well known as the owner of Pat Horan Motors, a family run business with motorhomes and campers for sale, Pat is gearing up for the Croí Corrib Cycle, in aid of a charity that is very close to his heart.

In 2017, while Pat was out for his daily cycle and only one mile from home, he lost all energy and knew something wasn’t right. He didn’t have the typical heart attack symptoms of chest pain, but he knew he needed to get to the doctor right away. Pat was rushed to Limerick where he received stents in his heart, and then was referred to Dublin for a triple heart bypass.

Pat went to great lengths to reduce his risk of heart disease, even cutting out butter, sugar and salt from his diet over 25 years ago, but Pat’s family history was something that could not be modified. His advice for people recovering from heart surgery is to get out and get active: “You will be sore, but get out and go for a walk. Fresh air is amazing… do what you can and drink plenty of water,” says Horan.

Pat credits cycling and his fitness level for keeping him alive. “I go at my own pace, I like cycling on my own as there is no pressure. I head off at 8am in the morning and it sets me up for the day,” says Horan.

Pat on his bike

Pat is a motor sport enthusiast, and is looking forward to the restrictions being lifted so he can travel to Europe again to compete in the rallies with his youngest daughter, Noelle, his co-pilot. They have been invited to the Goodwood Festival of Speed for the last number of years and also have taken part in the Legendary Eifel Rally Festival.

Pat is looking forward to a great day out at the Croí Corrib Cycle on Sunday, July 11th. Learn more and register now at croi.ie/cycle. Funds raised support Croí’s work in fighting heart disease and stroke.

Heart & Stroke Charity says #JustGo if you are having a Heart Attack or Stroke

Today (Monday June 15th, 2020) the Heart & Stroke Charity Croí, launches a national ‘patient-to-patient’ confidence building campaign aimed at saving lives and reducing disability by encouraging those with symptoms of heart or stroke emergency to seek medical help without delay. The #JustGo initiative reaffirms medical advice to always act quickly when it comes to symptoms of a heart attack or stroke. ‘Time is muscle’ – the longer you wait with a heart attack the more damage occurs to your heart muscle or in the case of a stroke, to your brain.

The campaign is in response to the fear of COVID-19, which is keeping almost half of people suffering from a heart attack away from hospitals, and now across the world, doctors are reporting that those who delay in seeking medical help are in a far worse condition when they finally arrive at hospital, and it’s often too late to benefit from the life-saving treatments that are normally available to them.

“It’s one of the unintended consequences of COVID-19 that people suffering heart attacks and strokes are delaying in seeking medical help, resulting in worse outcomes. Also, people living with known heart conditions who are experiencing new or worsening symptoms are delaying too long before calling their doctor or going to hospital,” says Neil Johnson, CEO, Croí.

National Clinical Societies and international organisations such as the World Heart Federation, World Stroke Organisation and the European Society of Cardiology are all united on the important message that ignoring cardiac symptoms or delaying treatment carries the risk of severe complications with long-term negative and potentially life threatening consequences.

Professor Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist, Galway University Hospital and President of the Irish Cardiac Society, says, “In Ireland, there has been a large decrease in cardiac admissions to hospital (across all cardiac conditions), in some locations a decrease of as much as 80%, and there has been a significant decrease in hospital interventions both surgical and less invasive of up to 35% across hospitals. This is very worrying as we know cardiovascular disease has not gone away and the prospect of a surge of patients with advanced cardiac symptoms in the coming weeks and months as an indirect consequence of COVID-19 is concerning.”

Professor Bill McEvoy, Consultant Cardiologist, Galway University Hospital and Research & Medical Director of the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, confirms that he has been seeing patients who left it too late to come into hospital for treatment of a heart attack or stroke. “We have seen severe complications of heart attacks that we haven’t witnessed in decades, from back before the time since we have modern treatments for heart attack. We need to get the message out to patients, loud and clear, that our hospitals are safe and that patients without COVID-19 are being kept separate from patients admitted with COVID-19. We also need to reinforce the longstanding message to patients – act quickly if you have symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.”

Dr Joe Gallagher, ICGP Primary Care Lead for Integrated Care Programmes (Cardiovascular Disease) speaking as a GP says, “It is really important to look after your heart at this time and if you are worried about your heart health talk to your GP.  Don’t delay in going to hospital if you experience symptoms of a heart attack or stroke.”

The #JustGo campaign message is simple and clear – If you are experiencing the symptoms of a heart attack, – Don’t delay – Every minute counts. If you have chest pain or other heart attack symptoms – such as pain in the throat, neck, back, stomach or shoulders that lasts for more than 15 minutes – you must call an ambulance.

Equally, if you are living with an existing heart condition such as heart failure or heart valve disease and if you are experiencing new symptoms, or a worsening of symptoms, you should contact your doctor or go to a hospital as soon as possible. Similarly, for those diagnosed with Familial Hypercholesterolemia (FH) (a genetic condition where the cholesterol level is very high and needs medical treatment to lower it) or for those under the age of 55, having a family member living with FH or multiple family members with a history of heart disease or stroke – don’t ignore the symptoms of heart attack, act quickly.

The #JustGo Campaign hopes to reassure people that the risk of coronavirus infection in hospital has been minimised for patients being admitted with heart attacks or strokes. The campaign also reaffirms that the risk of dying from an untreated heart attack is 10 times higher than dying from COVID-19.

Croí says – If you are experiencing a heart or stroke emergency – this is NOT the time to ‘stay at home’ – when your heart says so, #JustGo

Learn more: www.croi.ie/justgo

The #JustGo Campaign is endorsed by:

The National Heart
Programme Ireland

Irish Cardiac Society
European Atherosclerosis Society

Part of a global initiative by the Global Heart Hub in collaboration with FH Europe.

Supported by:

World Heart Foundation

iASPIRE – Nationwide Study of Irish Heart Attack Survivors Shows Persistent Behaviours Which Drastically Increase Risk of Further Heart Attack

39% of heart attack survivors are obese, 40% still have high blood pressure and 56% do not have their cholesterol controlled up to 24 months after attack

44% of survivors didn’t get flu vaccine last year, despite flu being a trigger for heart attacks

43% of smokers with heart attacks continue to smoke

Today, the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health in Galway, revealed that a new nationwide study of Irish patients who have survived a recent heart attack shows that while some have tried to change their habits, many aren’t succeeding in minimising the risk factors which contributed to the heart attack in the first place.  

 

  • 43% of those who smoked at the time of the heart attack are still smoking up to 24 months later[1]
  • 39% are obese up to 24 months after
  • 50% have central obesity which is where the fat is concentrated around the waist (Waist circumference >=102 cm for men or >=88 cm for women)
  • Of those who were obese, more than 30% had never been told that they were overweight by a medical professional
  • 31% never or rarely take regular activity long enough to work up a sweat
  • 40% still have raised blood pressure; despite nearly 22% measuring their blood pressure at home
  • 56% didn’t reach the goal of reducing their LDL (low-density lipoproteins) cholesterol to below 1.8mmol/L[2]
  • Of those with diabetes, 39% didn’t manage to reach the recommended blood sugar level goal of % HbA1c<7%
  • 44% didn’t get the flu vaccine last year
  • 87% were attending a cardiac prevention or rehabilitation programme for at least half of the sessions  
  • There was wide variability in risk factor control across the 9 sites, suggesting that a standardized national cardiovascular prevention programme would be one solution to the generally poor control of risk factors seen among Irish heart attach survivors.

“This research shows that in certain aspects our health system is making a positive difference to the lives of patients who have recently survived a heart attack.  However, many patients are still struggling with blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, exercise and smoking cessation issues,” said Prof. Bill McEvoy, Professor of Preventive Cardiology, NUI Galway and Medical and Research Director, National Institute for Prevention of Cardiovascular Health at the Croí Heart and Stroke Centre (NIPC).

“Survival of a heart attack is a second chance at life, but only if risk factors are managed.  While we’re seeing better lifestyle habits in some patients, a considerable proportion – if not half – of Irish heart attack survivors are still not making the changes required to prolong their lives. The health system also needs to do more to standardize care for these patients,” concluded Prof. McEvoy.

 


[1] Overall just under 10% of the group were currently smokers, but the 43% represents patients who continued to smoke after a heart attack.

[2] LDL is sometimes referred to as the ‘bad’ cholesterol which leads to a build-up of cholesterol in the arteries

 

Galway Night Run: Race The Prom In Aid Of Croí

Galway Night Run: Everyone welcome to race the Prom, in aid of Croí

Terry Small from Castlegar, Galway, is busy training for his second Croí Night Run, having completed his first 5km Night Run last year. “I really enjoyed it! I jogged half the distance and then walked the rest. I hadn’t won a medal in years… I love showing it off,” says Small.

Terry was referred to Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, in 2017 after having a stent inserted following a heart attack. He started with Croí’s Active Heart Cardiac Rehab programme and now continues to attend Croí’s exercise programmes every Tuesday. “I wasn’t doing much exercise before, but now I am as fit as I can be,” says Small.

The Annual Galway Night Run in aid of Croí is one of the charity’s biggest fundraising events and it caters for all ages and abilities (competitive runners, family walkers, beginner joggers, etc.). Join Terry and his two daughters for the Night Run on Friday, October 11 at 8pm on the Salthill Prom. This year promises to be even bigger and better to celebrate the 5th anniversary, with music and entertainment at the start and finish line. The run will be chipped timed and everyone will receive a medal!

Thanks to the support of our sponsor Evergreen Healthfoods and media partner iRadio, 100% of the proceeds go directly to supporting Croí services and supports in the community. This includes heart and stroke prevention and recovery programmes, education and training programmes, and supporting the Courtyard Apartments at Croí House which offer free accommodation and support for the relatives of those receiving heart or stroke care at Galway University Hospitals.

Regular entry is €35, with discounted entry for students, youth and over 65s. Under 12s are welcome for free, but strictly must be under the supervision of an adult. Registration is open at www.croi.ie/nightrun. Join us and help Croí continue to lead the fight against heart disease and stroke in the West of Ireland.