Free heart health talk in Galway next week

The Irish Heart Foundation will hold a free public talk called ‘Heart Health – What Women Need to Know’ at the Salthill Hotel on Wednesday September 22.

The IHF, a national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, is promoting this month as a red alert to all Irish women to make themselves aware of the risks and signs of heart disease. As many women (5,000 ) as men die from cardiovascular diseases and the Irish Heart Foundation is encouraging people to Go Red for Women and take action to reduce their risk.

The talk will feature an impressive line-up including Dr Blaithnead Murtagh, consultant cardiologist with Galway Clinic; Dr Barbara O’Beirne, a Galway GP and president of the Irish Menopause Society; and Janis Morrissey, president of the Irish Nutrition and Dietetic Institute and a nutritionist with the Irish Heart Foundation. The talk will be chaired by Dr Claire Connolly, a lecturer in health promotion at the National University of Ireland, Galway.

The talk will focus on the signs and symptoms of heart disease in women, heart disease and the menopause, and weight management and food choices for a healthy heart. There will be a questions and answers session at the end.

“Throughout the month of September our charity, supported by the Health Service Executive, will promote heart healthy lifestyle behaviours so more women will know how to reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease and will recognise the signs and symptoms of heart attack and stroke,” said David Muldoon, regional manager with the Irish Heart Foundation. “The Galway talk is part of that campaign and we urge women to attend if they want to know more about their health and heart disease.”

According to Dr Kate McGarry, consultant physician and chair of the Irish Heart Foundation’s council on women and cardiovascular disease, one Irish woman dies on average every two hours from heart, stroke, and blood vessel diseases. “When it comes to health issues women are more concerned about breast cancer, even though seven times as many women die from heart disease and stroke in Ireland each year,” she added. “Our goal is to alert women that, especially after the menopause, they are at risk of heart attack and stroke, as much as any man. But the good news is that a positive lifestyle can cut risk factors for cardiovascular disease. Go Red for Women is a wake-up call to every woman in Ireland to take care of her heart health.”

The talk, which will begin at 8pm next Wednesday, is free and open to everyone. However booking is advised as places are limited. To book your place call David on (086 ) 3806941 or Susan on 1850 364 364 or email [email protected]. For more information visit www.irishheart.ie

Red Alert messages for women

• Be active – at least 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times a week.

• Eat a healthy diet - eat more fruit and vegetables and fresh foods; eat less fat, fries and convenience foods.

• If you smoke, stop - the risk of CVD is reduced by half one year after quitting.

• Have regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks with your family doctor.

• Know your family history and the signs and symptoms of heart disease.

• Go easy on alcohol - no more than 14 standard drinks per week.

• Enjoy life. Take time out for yourself and keep in touch with friends.

Signs and symptoms of heart attack in women can include:

• Chest discomfort. Squeezing, uncomfortable pressure or pain in the centre of the chest that lasts more than a few minutes.

• Discomfort and/or pain spreading to other areas of the upper body such as the shoulders, neck, or upper arms

• Shortness of breath, unexplained weakness or fatigue, anxiety or unusual nervousness, indigestion or gas-like pain, breaking out in a cold sweat, nausea, vomiting, light-headedness, and collapse.

• Dizziness and/or fainting

Not all of the above symptoms are always present. If only some are present do not wait. Get help fast and dial 999. Meanwhile sit or lie down.

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