PARTNER BLOG – IRISH HEART
This September, Irish Heart wants you to strike before stroke as it marks the beginning of a month-long awareness campaign supported by the HSE and focused, for the first time, on stroke prevention among men and women over 40.
Research shows that stroke can strike at any age as 2,000 working age people are now affected annually by the disease in Ireland.
This month, prevention is for you. 60% of over 45s in Ireland have high blood pressure which is a major risk for stroke – start with a check and find out what you can do to avoid stroke.
Stroke is a serious medical emergency mostly associated with older age but the reality is that people of working age are now accounting for one in four of all strokes in Ireland and this is growing rapidly in spite of Ireland’s ageing population.
A stroke happens when a blood vessel bursts or is blocked by a clot or narrowing in the artery. This causes a break in the blood supply to part of the brain, denying it essential oxygen and nutrients. This affects how the body works and can damage or destroy brain cells – on average about two million cells every minute.
The good news is that 80% of premature strokes are preventable through lifestyle changes such as healthy eating and being active. We’re here to help so don’t miss our free stroke prevention promotional materials and tips on irishheart.ie
Our recent survey of our Mobile Health Unit service showed that 2 in 5 men had high blood pressure and that less men than women went to the doctor when advised to do so by our nurses. We would encourage all men in the sheds to avail our free blood pressure check or full health check when in your area and if advised to see your doctor to follow up on this advice.
A blood pressure check is a simple quick and non-invasive test that could prove life-saving. The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured in your local pharmacy, with Irish Heart’s free mobile health unit or with your family doctor. The important thing is to do it now. The normal level of blood pressure is usually about 120 over 80. If your blood pressure is 140 over 90 or higher (or 140 over 80 if you have diabetes) you should discuss this reading with your doctor.
Tips for a healthy Blood Pressure
• Know your blood pressure number
• Aim for a healthy weight
• Eat less salt and processed food
• Eat more fruit and vegetables
• If you drink alcohol, keep within the recommended levels
• Be physically active for at least 30 minutes 5 days a week
• If you smoke, try to stop, contact the national Quitline 1850-201-203
• Have a cholesterol check, eat less fatty foods
• Always take your tablets as advised by your doctor
For information on any aspect of your heart health, speak to our National Heart and Stroke Helpline nurses on 1800 25 25 50 or visit irishheart.ie