by Alan Jacques
Every day in Ireland 27 lives are lost to the disease and almost 300 new cases are diagnosed daily in this country. But the Irish Heart Foundation says many of these deaths can be prevented.
By eliminating risk factors such as high blood pressure, raised cholesterol, obesity, physical inactivity and smoking, the Irish Heart Foundation says 80 percent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable.
Launching their annual Happy Heart Appeal, which runs from May 7 to 9, the Irish Heart Foundation called for donations to grow the charity’s on-the-ground prevention programme so it can reach greater numbers of people at risk of this killer disease.
Irish Heart Foundation medical director Dr Angie Brown said, “It is well known by medical professionals that cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death and disability in Ireland and that it remains so despite major inroads into prevention and treatment and indeed a significant reduction in morbidity and mortality in the last 35 years.”
“Yet there is a perception by the general public that it’s not so bad. This perception may exist because coronary disease can be treated more easily now than in the past with medication and stenting, so fewer individuals require bypass grafting.
“But it’s important to remember that a heart attack can lead to development of heart failure, a chronic condition which also has high levels of mortality and morbidity and a stroke can have severe consequences leading to high levels of disability,” said Dr Brown.
The good news, she said, is that 80 per cent of cardiovascular disease is preventable which reaffirms the need for increased awareness of heart disease and stroke prevention and symptoms.
“Prevention is crucial to stop this disease in its tracks and save lives.”
The Happy Hearts Appeal is the Irish Heart Foundation’s biggest national fundraising event and more than 3,000 volunteers around the country will take to the streets and shopping centres of Ireland selling happy heart badges at €2 a piece this Thursday, Friday and Saturday. People are also encouraged to text ‘Happy’ to 50300 to donate €4 to the appeal.