A ground breaking project launched in Galway two years ago has proven to be a key factor in changing lives of participants and preventing deaths and disability from heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and obesity.
The Croí MyAction project has benefited almost 800 people across 500 families throughout Galway city and county. Figures released this week show that the programme, the first of its kind in Ireland, has had a huge impact on reducing cardiovascular disease (CVD ) and that the outcomes achieved at the end of the 16 week programme were maintained by the time one year follow-ups took place. The launch of the results was attended by presidential candidate Michael D Higgins who acknowledged and commended the great work of Croí as a charity dedicated to the fight against heart disease and stroke.
This evidence based programme was launched in Galway in collaboration with Imperial College London with some support from HSE West Primary Community and Continuing Care Department and MSD Ireland. Led by nurse specialists, a dietician, a physiotherapist, and exercise specialists, under medical supervision, the programme is based on compelling evidence that managing risk factors through a combination of lifestyle change and/or cardio protective drug management can greatly decrease the risk of death or disability from chronic disease such as heart disease, diabetes, peripheral vascular disease and stroke/TIA.
The results show: the smoking quit rate on the programme was 56 per cent, which equates to a 50 per cent reduction in CVD events; significant weight loss was achieved, equating to as much as a 20 per cent reduction in risk; dietary changes (adhering to the cardio-protective Mediterranean diet ) have yielded an almost 10 per cent risk reduction of cancer and death; the programme achieved massive changes in physical activity levels, ranging from an initial nine per cent of participants achieving recommended exercise targets to 62 per cent now taking exercise at the recommended level of intensity, which equates to as much as a 30 per cent reduction in CVD events; significant changes were achieved in reducing blood pressure and cholesterol levels, such that, these reductions and the reaching of recommended targets represents as much as 20 per cent reduction in heart disease and a 35 per cent reduction in stroke; and significant reductions were achieved in anxiety and depression levels, which demonstrates the positive effect that a healthy lifestyle has on quality of life and reducing anxiety and depression.
Announcing these results, Croí research and medical director, Dr Jim Crowley, consultant cardiologist, UHG said: “Taken together, these results show that the changes that have been achieved over the past two years have a measurable impact in reducing illness, disability, and death. Equally, these behaviour changes are literally changing people’s lives. They show that prevention and early intervention works; is worthwhile and is cost effective in terms of reducing the burden on the health care system. The ‘Croí MyAction’ programme is actively preventing and managing chronic diseases. It is the first nurse led preventive cardiovascular programme of its kind in Ireland and incorporates many of the important principles and recommendations of the national cardiovascular health policy.”