Croí joins with Midwest radio to highlight free blood pressure checks in September

Pictured is Midwest radio commentator Michael D McAndrew ‘checking’ the blood pressure of match analyst Martin Carney ahead of the All-Ireland Final in Croke Park on Saturday, September 11th. Pic Conor McKeown

The Croí Third Age Mayo project and Midwest radio’s GAA commentators Michael D McAndrew and Martin Carney are joining forces to highlight the fact that free blood pressure checks are available in numerous pharmacies across Mayo to people over 55 years of age who have not had their blood pressure checked in the past year.

Croí is partnering with a number of pharmacies across Mayo throughout September offering free blood pressure checks as part of the Croí Third Age Mayo project. This initiative is specifically designed to promote and support the cardiovascular health and well-being of the over 55 population in county Mayo.

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.

Log on to www.croi.ie/third-age-mayo-bp for the full list of participating pharmacies in Mayo.

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 – MacAuliffe’s, O’Donnell’s, Staunton’s, Treacy’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.

Croí Marks World Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) Day in Mayo

The Croí Third Age Mayo project, which aims to promote healthy cardiovascular ageing, will mark World Hypertension Day (May 17) with a free public webinar with expert speakers discussing how participants can manage their high blood pressure. The webinar will take place lunchtime on Thursday, May 20 from 1-2 pm with expert 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. Register for free here.

In a separate initiative from May 17, Croí Third Age Mayo will partner with ten local pharmacies as part of a blood pressure measurement pilot programme. This initiative will see free blood pressure checks offered throughout the week to people over 55 years of age who have not had their blood pressure checked in the past year. 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.

The pharmacies participating in the pilot programme are Molloy’s Pharmacy in BallinaCrossmolina, Ballaghaderreen and Achill, Treacy’s Pharmacy in Castlebar, Westport and Ballinrobe, and O’Donnell’s Pharmacy and McVann’s Pharmacy in Westport.

People over 55 years of age interested in a free blood pressure check can simply contact one of the participating pharmacies to book an appointment, which are subject to availability. Further information on Croí Third Age Mayo, and this pilot programme, can be found at croi.ie/third-age-mayo-bp. The blood pressure measurement programme will expand to include more pharmacies in the county with further checks to be held later in the year.

High Rates of High BP

Mayo is among the counties in Ireland with the highest proportion of people over 55 years of age, having almost a third of the population in this age category. Between 30-40% of people in Ireland are unaware that they have high blood pressure. 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.

For Croí Chief Executive, Neil Johnson, this initiative marks the beginning of a county-wide effort to improve our cardiovascular health: “One of the many impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been reduced access to routine health checks, with implications for delayed detection and treatment of cardiovascular risk factors such as high blood pressure. We are delighted therefore to announce this pilot initiative marking World Hypertension Day. Starting with a pilot among these ten pharmacies, our aim is to then spread the blood pressure message far and wide across the county of Mayo in the coming months with other blood pressure management events.”

Own it. Check it. Sort it.

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. If over 55 years, 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, by 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.

Tailored Educational Intervention Programme Can Have a Positive Impact on Hypertension Control

Hypertension affects in excess of 50% of people over 50 years of age in Ireland. Lifestyle change is a critical element in blood pressure control and hypertension control is only effective when the individual understands their condition and are empowered to take action.

New research completed by NUI Galway, Croí­ – the West of Ireland Cardiac and Stroke Foundation, and the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, has explored the impact of a structured hypertension educational intervention programme on patient knowledge, lifestyle behaviours and blood pressure control. The study, published in the international medical journal SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine, found a significant improvement in hypertension knowledge and awareness and a measurable increase in blood pressure control.

 

First author of the paper Dr Haroon Zafar, Programme Lead for the Masters in Interventional Cardiovascular Medicine at NUI Galway, and Science Foundation Ireland and Irish Research Council funded Principal Investigator, said: “Hypertension (raised blood pressure) is an increasingly prevalent condition in Ireland, affecting in excess of 50 per cent of those over 50 years of age. While many people undergo adequate clinical treatment, their standard of blood pressure control still remains sub-optimal mainly due to poor medication adherence fuelled by poor awareness level.

 

“Providing a tailored educational intervention programme can have a positive impact on hypertension control, knowledge and self-care management within community-based settings. With upward trends for hypertension and cardiovascular disease across Ireland, the need for a new model to effectively treat and control hypertension among the Irish community becomes indispensable.”

 

Over 100 participants from disadvantaged/underserved communities in County Mayo participated in the study. Participants from the interventional group were invited to attend the structured interactive educational programme on lifestyle management of hypertension. The aim of this session was to create knowledge and awareness on hypertension and was delivered by a multidisciplinary group including a Specialist Nurse, Dietician, Physiotherapist and Cardiologist. Educational topics included understanding and taking control of blood pressure, the effects of exercise and diet on blood pressure, smoking cessation, stress management, and current medication updates and adherence.

 

Eligible participants (adults of 40 years and older) with high blood pressure were randomly assigned to either a control group or an intervention group. The control group were given standard care, which included blood pressure and Body Mass Index measurements, lifestyle guidance, and referral to General Practitioner in accordance with European Society of Cardiology guidelines, and the interventional group received an educational session to improve knowledge and understanding of hypertension.

 

A follow-up assessment was conducted for all participants four-six months after the educational interventional programme. Participants from the intervention group showed higher blood pressure reduction by the end of the study on each of the four measured blood pressure indicators (SBP-R, SBP-L, DBP-R and DBP-L), compared to participants from the control group. The educational session provided to intervention participants also raised their awareness level regarding hypertension and the importance of exercise in controlling hypertension along with reduction in alcohol consumption and avoiding smoking altogether.

 

Professor Faisal Sharif, Consultant Interventional Cardiologist at University Hospital Galway and senior author of the paper, said: “The study highlights the importance of patient empowerment and engagement in management of chronic diseases such as hypertension. Through patient education we can achieve superior clinical results by modifying the patient’s behaviour. Further, larger studies are required to confirm this effect. Also, it will be interesting to assess the long-term effects of patient intervention on clinical outcomes.”

 

Neil Johnson, Chief Executive of Croí – the West of Ireland Cardiac and Stroke Foundation, and the National Institute for Prevention and Cardiovascular Health, commented: “Raised blood pressure remains the biggest single risk factor for heart attack and stroke, which constitute the leading cause of death and disability in Ireland and across the world. Effective treatments for high blood pressure are readily available and relatively cheap. However, a critical element in blood pressure control is lifestyle change which is only effective when the individual understands their condition and are empowered to take action. This research study confirms the significance of patient empowerment through education and it’s a good example of the significant impact of the work of Croí in the local community.”

 

The research was funded by an unrestricted educational grant from Global Medtronic Philanthropic Foundation and an Irish Research Council New Foundations Grant.

 

A copy of the full study, published in the journal SN Comprehensive Clinical Medicine is available at: https://bit.ly/3cIkLfc.