Roscommon Farmers – Take Control of Your Heart Health with Croí

Croí, the heart and stroke charity, invites Roscommon Farmers to a special World Heart Day webinar on Thursday, September 30th from 7-8pm using Zoom. The webinar will focus on how you can reduce your risk factors for heart disease and stroke, including cholesterol, blood pressure, weight, stress and more. Following the webinar, registrants will have the opportunity to apply to join a free 8-week lifestyle change programme with the Croí Health Team. Register now at www.croi.ie/roscommonfarmers.

The life of a farmer is often busy, active and unpredictable, and we can see the impact of this demanding lifestyle on farmers’ risk for developing heart disease and stroke. Startlingly, almost 50% of Irish farmers have high cholesterol and high blood pressure, and 86% are overweight or are living with obesity. Farmers have historically been seen as a physically active group, but daily “sitting time” for farmers can be as high as 8+ hours.

The good news is that with small lifestyle changes to things like eating habits and exercise, life-changing improvements can be made, reducing your risk for heart disease and stroke. “Up to 80% of heart disease can be prevented by modifying risk factors such as high cholesterol, high blood pressure and smoking. The more risk factors you have, the more likely it is that you will develop heart disease and stroke. We want you to focus on the risk factors you can change, because even if you have a family history, there is a lot you can do to reduce your risk,” says Dr. Lisa Hynes.

Webinar speakers include Dr. Lisa Hynes, Health Psychologist and Head of Health Programmes at Croí; Aisling Harris, Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian; and Zoe McCrudden, Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist. All participants will receive a free e-copy of Croí’s new Healthy Living Workbook that will help guide them in making the changes that are right for them.

Register now and submit your questions for the experts at www.croi.ie/roscommonfarmers, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event – know your risk of developing heart disease or stroke and make heart healthy changes!

In addition, Croí has developed special resources to support Roscommon farmers on their journey to better heart health. Check out our special webpage at www.croi.ie/roscommonfarmers and learn how you can reduce your risk of developing heart disease or stroke.

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

Own Your Time – How to maintain your healthy new habits as we return to ‘normal’ life

The pandemic presented immense challenges for many people, but it also had positive benefits for those freed from lengthy commutes and workplace stresses. Dr Lisa Hynes says now is the time to reflect on the lessons of lockdown. 

Dr Lisa Hynes is a health psychologist and Head of Health Programmes at the Croi, heart and stroke centre in Galway. Visit croi.ie for more. 

It’s not that we have more of it, it’s just that we are spending it better. One of the defining features of the past 18 months for so many has been the transition to working from home, and the enjoyment of a commodity that we are able to appreciate now more than ever. That commodity is time. Gone are the hours spent commuting from A to B, and in its place are the seconds taken to slip out of bed and clock in at the kitchen table. Of course, juggling home working with home schooling, and everything else in between, has not been without its challenges. But there have undoubtedly been benefits for our physical health. Thanks to having more time than ever to spend on ourselves, we now have time for morning sea swims. Time for lunchtime walks in the park. Time for evening runs on the streets.

But before the world opens up again and employers start to reopen workplaces, perhaps we need to take some time out. Time out to think about what we might have learned about life under Covid-19 and what we might like to hold on to as we return to our workplace habitats.

Recently, I had the pleasure of facilitating a group of cardiovascular patients. During our discussion, one woman described how working from home had provided a huge relief from long, exhausting days. Thanks to the extra time at home, and the mental and emotional space this brought, she had been able to adopt healthy new routines, such as preparing nutritious meals and getting some exercise in.

But now she was experiencing that ‘Sunday night fear’ every day as she worried about what’s on the horizon. She has a very real fear that these new routines will no longer be possible when she’s back commuting to the office and enduring a 12-hour working day.

She was afraid, angry, and frustrated at the prospect of losing all of the ground she has gained and the hugely positive impact she has experienced for her heart health.

Dr. Lisa Hynes - Head of Health Programmes & Health Psychologist

So, how to help her? It is useful to reflect that there are three key factors that drive health related behaviours capability, opportunity and motivation. Whether it is changing our diet, starting an exercise routine, or quitting smoking, a number of thing need to line up. And we wonder why it is so difficult a make a change?

But there is help in ensuring our stars align. We are creatures of habit and the strongest predictor of what we do today, is what we did yesterday. Everyone knows what it is like to want to make a change, whether it’s drinking less coffee or going to bed earlier, and how difficult that can be. The truth is, we find it hard to make changes – because it is hard. We tend to approach change with the belief that it should be easy and, if we don’t succeed, it’s our fault. We just didn’t have the “will power”.

We know that up to 90% of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented. So why is this information not enough to have us all eating salad and running marathons? It’s because knowledge is just not enough remember, we need to have the “stars” of capability, opportunity and motivation aligned for action.

Covid-19 and its associated restrictions have impacted every aspect of our lives. We all have a story about things we are doing differently. Times of transition, like now as we begin to re-open, are highly stressful. When things get messy, we seek familiarity, comfort and control. If you are finding things a bit confusing and difficult at the moment, you are not alone.

Yet times when the chessboard gets flipped also present opportunities and the chance to reflect and decide how we want things to be. One of the key issues that we need to plan for is how we will deal with the barriers that may stop us from maintaining those healthy changes the pandemic has brought about in our lives.

We now have an ideal opportunity to look ahead and identify those challenges. Once done, we can then put action plans in place to deal with them and, even more importantly, plan how to get back on that horse should we fall off. We know what’s coming, even if we don’t know when. A return to the commute and being bumper to bumper. A return to the office and the constantly ringing phone. A return to the sandwich shop and queues out the door at lunchtime. A slow and gradual return to life as we knew it.

Think about giving yourself time out now to reflect on ways you might approach these changes to best support your heart health and overall wellbeing.

There really is no time to lose.

TAKE 5 – Lockdown lessons and adjusting to post-pandemic life

 

  1. Be a pleasure seeker: Reflect on the things that you really enjoyed during lockdown and think of ways to carry them forward into your new reality.
  2. Break those barriers: If you managed to create a healthy lunch routine while working from home, why not make it the evening before so it doesn’t fall victim to the snooze button? If you’ve been loving your morning walk and slow cup of coffee, why not jump into bed ahead of your usual time so you can have an earlier start?
  3. Be real: Don’t put yourself under such pressure that you‘re setting yourself up for a fall. We can make a real difference to our heart health through simple actions completed every day. Pick one or two achievable goals and celebrate your successes.
  4. A problem shared: If you are worried about the changes ahead, talk to friends and family to see if they also have concerns. It helps to share our worries and we can also uncover opportunities to support each other.
  5. Be sociable: It may take a bit of time to dust off those social skills, but social interaction is so important for wellbeing and can really support healthy routines. Why not start a lunchtime walking group with your colleagues? You’ll be able to keep up your current exercise routine and give the afternoon slump the hump.

Living well with Cardiovascular Disease: Emotional Recovery

Have you, or a loved one, recently been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease or are recovering from a cardiac event? Join Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, and leading experts for a public webinar on the emotional recovery post cardiac event or diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. The free webinar takes place online using Zoom on Thursday, August 26th, from 7-8pm.

Register now and submit your questions for the experts at www.croi.ie/webinar, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event – Croí want to help you to regain your confidence and get back to living your life again.

Living with cardiovascular disease can be very difficult. At times, you may feel unsure of what to expect or limited by tiredness and pain, and this may cause feelings like sadness and hopelessness. The interactive panel discussion will address your priorities and concerns. Experts on the night include Noelle O’Keeffe, Senior Counselling Psychologist and Professional Coach, Tallaght University Ireland; and Dr. Lisa Hynes, Health Psychologist and Head of Health Programmes, Croí.

“It is normal to feel down or depressed after a cardiac event like a heart attack, a heart surgery or procedure, or a new diagnosis of cardiovascular disease. Many people with CVD will experience psychological distress, particularly depression. With support and treatment, it is possible to recover from depression and take care of your heart health,” says Dr. Lisa Hynes.

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

Minding your Heart Health

Join Croí for a special heart health webinar for the Erris Community!

Croí, the Heart & Stroke Charity, is delighted to announce a special online event for the Erris community in North Mayo focussing on “Minding your Heart Health”.

Join Croí and leading experts including Prof. Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist, for this free webinar, supported by Vermilion Energy, online using Zoom on Thursday, August 12th, from 7–8pm.

Register here and submit your questions for the experts, or call Croí on 091-544310. Don’t miss this special event.

Speakers on the night include:

  • Prof. Jim Crowley – Consultant Cardiologist
  • Ailish Houlihan – Self-Management Support Co-ordinator for Long-term Health Conditions with Community Healthcare West
  • Zoe McCrudden – Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist

The expert speakers will answer your questions and address your heart health priorities and concerns.

“We are delighted to offer this special event to the Erris Community through our Third Age Mayo programme. We want to put a spotlight on heart health, especially for people over the age of 55 years old. Heart disease, stroke and diabetes are more common as we get older, but if detected early, many heart conditions such as high blood pressure, heart valve disease, heart failure and atrial fibrillation (irregular heart beat) can be treated so that people can have a longer and better quality of life,” says Dr Lisa Hynes, Croí’s Head of Health Programmes.

Supported by: 

Ask the Experts at Free Croí Webinar

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Scroll down to watch back on our previous webinars!

To celebrate World Stroke Day this October, Croí will be hosting a free, public webinar Fingers on the Pulse for Stroke Awareness’. Taking place on Thursday, October 28th, from 7-8pm.

Expert speakers on the evening will include:

  • Prof Rónán Collins, Geriatrician & Stroke Physician, Clinical Lead Irish National Stroke Programme
  • Prof Briain McNeill, Consultant Cardiologist
  • Trish Galvin, ANP Stroke Care 
  • Declan Fahy, Stroke Survivor

Register now and submit your questions for the experts or call Croí on 087-9217574. Don’t miss this special event!

Click to register

Supported by:

Past events

Risk Factors for Heart Disease and Stroke, September 30, 2021

On Thursday, Sept 30th, the Croí Health Team hosted a special webinar to mark World Heart Day. The webinar focused on risk factors for heart disease and stroke. Our expert panel for the evening included: Dr. Lisa Hynes, Health Psychologist and Croí’s Head of Health Programmes; Aisling Harris, Croí’s Cardiac and Weight Management Dietitian, Zoe McCrudden, Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist

Heart Valve Disease, September 16, 2021

The Listen to Your Heart webinar (Sept 16, 2021) featured contributions from interventional cardiologist, Dr Samer Arnous, and James Penny, who is living with heart valve disease. MC on the evening was Lia Hynes, Journalist with the Irish Independent, author and podcast host. The webinar highlighted the signs and symptoms of heart valve disease and how it is detected and treated.

Minding Your Heart Health, August 12th, 2021

Croí’s Living with Cardiovascular Disease: Emotional Recovery webinar took place on Thursday, August 27th and featured an expert panel of speakers, including: Noelle O’Keeffe, Senior Counselling Psychologist and Professional Coach; Dr. Lisa Hynes, Health Psychologist and Head of Health Programmes, Croí; Maeve Frawley, Heartlink West Nurse, Croí and Jonathan Walsh, Living with heart disease.

Minding Your Heart Health, August 12th, 2021

On Thursday, August 12th, Croí hosted a special Minding Your Heart Health webinar for the community of Erris, Co. Mayo. We were delighted to be joined by three expert panelists: Prof. Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist; Ailish Houlihan, Self-Management Support Co-ordinator for Long-term Health Conditions with Community Healthcare West; and Zoe McCrudden, Cardiovascular Nurse Specialist.

Living with Atrial Fibrillation, June 24th, 2021

Croí’s Living with Atrial Fibrillation webinar took place on June 24, 2021 and featured an expert panel of speakers, including: Paul Nolan, Chief II Cardiac Physiologist at Galway University Hospital; Dr. Jonathan Lyne, Cardiologist and Electrophysiologist at Blackrock Clinic; and Eileen Joyce, Psychotherapist, who was diagnosed with AFib last year and will share her experience from a patient’s perspective.

Managing your High Blood Pressure, May 20th, 2021

Croí’s Managing your High Blood Pressure webinar took place on May 20, 2021 and featured an expert panel of speakers, including: Prof. Bill McEvoy, Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway; Dr. Barry McDonnell, Cardiovascular Physiologist, Cardiff Metropolitan University; and Dr. Gerry Molloy, Health Psychologist, NUI Galway.

Living well with cardiovascular disease, April 29th 2021

Croí’s Living well with cardiovascular disease webinar took place on April 29, 2021 and featured an expert panel of speakers, including: Prof. Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist; Dr. Cathy McHugh, Consultant Endocrinologist; Aisling Harris, Croí’s Cardiac & Weight Management Dietitian.

The MySláinte programme is funded by the Government of Ireland’s Sláintecare Integration Fund 2019, under Grant Agreement Number 121 to support the delivery of services which focus on prevention, community care and integration of care across all health and social care settings.

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Make a healthier pancake this Shrove Tuesday!

Heart Healthy Pancakes!

This Tuesday, the frying pans won’t know what hit them with all the pancakes that will be made! Although a popular and tasty treat, pancakes and the toppings that come with them are often high in sugar and saturated fats.

This year, why not opt for the healthy choice and try Croí’s heart healthy pancakes, featuring soaked oats and banana. These delicious pancakes are full of heart-friendly ingredients, with the same great taste as traditional pancakes – the kids won’t even know the difference. Croí’s Lead Dietitian has also suggested some healthy toppings that just taste like more! Check out the ingredient list here and follow along with the video above for the method:

Ingredients: 

  • 150g soaked porridge oats
  • 150g self-raising flour
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 ripe banana, mashed
  • 2 large, free-range eggs
  • 100ml skimmed milk
  • 2 tsp rapeseed oil

Suggested toppings:

  • Blueberries
  • Raspberries
  • Apple
  • Banana
  • Walnuts
  • Sunflower & Pumpkin seeds
  • Cinnamon
  • Low-fat yogurt

Learn about the ingredients in the pancakes and the benefits they have for you!

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

 

Ballinasloe Heart Health Event

Join Croí for a Ballinasloe Heart Health Event

Free public talk with heart experts, plus heart health checks

The key to healthy ageing is a healthy heart. That’s why local Heart & Stroke Charity, Croí, is coming to Ballinasloe to host a free Public Talk ‘Listen to Your Heart …The Key to Healthy Ageing’ on Wednesday, October 23rd at 7.00pm in the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe, Co. Galway.

This event is part of the Croí Third Age Programme, which is a healthy ageing initiative aimed at improving health and longevity. So come along and learn how to keep your heart healthy as you age.

Guest speakers include:

  • Dr. Aidan Flynn, Consultant Cardiologist, Portiuncula Hospital;
  • Catherine Nolan, Heart Failure Clinical Nurse Specialist, Portiuncula Hospital;
  • Dr. Jim Crowley, Consultant Cardiologist, Galway University Hospital.

Everyone welcome but places are limited at this free event, so early booking is advised. To reserve your place, call Croí now on 091- 544310.

PLUS! Free Heart Health Checks

Croí is offering free heart health checks for 65+ year olds on Wednesday, October 23rd at the Shearwater Hotel in Ballinasloe.

So, if you are over the age of 65, Not 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), contact Croí now to register for this FREE heart health check.

Time slots for the heart health checks are available from 9:30am – 4:30pm. Places are limited and you must register in advance. Reserve your space now by calling Croí on 091-544310.

Health checks supported by:

Be a Croí Heart Hero and make a promise for your heart

We can all be Heart Heroes by making a promise, to ourselves and those we care about, to look after our hearts.

The team at the Croí Heart & Stroke Centre in Newcastle, Galway, encouraged the people of Galway to make an important promise for their heart health in celebration of World Heart Day on September 29th. Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in the world, and approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease in Ireland.

With sign-sheets scattered across Galway in locations such as University Hospital Galway, Bon Secours, NUI Galway and Galway City Council, the Croí Team gathered almost 2,000 signatures from Heart Heroes who promised to make a change for their hearts!

Some of the promises included:

  • A promise to your families to cook and eat more healthily;
  • A promise to your children to exercise more and help them to be more active, to say no to smoking and help your loved ones to stop;
  • A promise as a healthcare professional to help your patients give up smoking and lower their cholesterol;
  • A promise as a policymaker to support policies that promote healthy hearts;
  • A promise as an employee to invest in heart-healthy workplaces.

You can become a Heart Hero at any time by making a promise to make a change for your heart health!

Galway goes red for World Heart Day!

In the lead up to World Heart Day, Bon Secours Hospital Galway; The Browne Doorway in Eyre Square;  the Human Biology Building in NUI, Galway; and Kylemore Abbey were lit up red – in association with Croí!

On September 29th, The Croí Health team were in Kylemore Abbey, Connemara, to take part in a special World Heart Day event, with the Abbey lighting red in celebration! The Health Team offered free blood pressure and pulse checks, and took part in a guided hike to the Sacred Heart Statue along with other heart heroes.

Mitchell’s Café, who are renowned for their wholesome home cooking, also took part by serving a special heart healthy menu on the day. Many became Croí Heart Heroes by making their heart healthy promise, joined by Mitchell’s Sous Chef Dolores Heanue, who recently recovered from a major coronary event.