Monday, 22 September 2008


“It’s never too early, or never too late to start looking after your heart” Shahryar Sheikh, President of the World Heart Foundation.

The Irish Heart Foundation recommends that: “children and young people should aim to participate in activity of at least moderate intensity for one hour every day

Be a role model. Children learn by watching what their parents do. Show your child that you enjoy and value activity by taking part yourself - even simple things like walking short journeys instead of using the car can have a big influence.


World Heart Day is the most successful international campaign against heart disease and stroke. The World Heart Federation, based in Geneva, Switzerland, created the annual campaign in the year 2000 to increase public awareness of the growing threat of heart disease and stroke. This year the World Heart Day is on Sunday the 28th of September and their message is: “Know Your Risk!" The aim is to let the public find out what they can do to reduce their risk to the disease.


Heart disease and stroke is the world’s largest killer, claiming 17.5 million lives a year. The good news is that heart disease is largely preventable and that simple, affordable steps can be taken to reduce the major risk factors.

The message of World Heart Day is a positive one and emphasizes the importance of a heart-healthy lifestyle to leading a better, longer life.


Healthy eating
The key to healthy eating is to eat a wide variety of foods. Using the Food Pyramid as a guide will help make sure you get all the vitamins, minerals and goodness you need.

Get active
Regular physical activity is one of the main factors that reduces your risk of heart attack, along with not smoking and having a healthy level of blood pressure and cholesterol. Being active is the one factor that you can influence and change yourself without medication or treatment, and usually with very little cost. All it takes is about 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days, such as brisk walking, swimming or dancing. You can include household tasks such as cleaning the house and gardening.

Stopping smoking
You know the dangers and can feel it destroying your health.

Weight loss and heart disease

Being overweight means that your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. This extra pressure can cause wear and tear on your heart and blood-vessel system. Many people who are overweight for a long time develop high blood pressure or diabetes.

High blood pressure

A person with high blood pressure feels well, looks well and rarely has any symptoms. However, high blood pressure makes the heart and arteries work harder, causing damage over the years.
Watching your cholesterol level Having high cholesterol levels in your blood is one of the risk factors, which increases your chances of getting heart disease. One of the best ways to prevent heart disease is to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.

Stress and the heart

If you feel stressed, your blood will produce more hormones. Although they are useful in small amounts, too many of these hormones, continuously and over time, can damage your arteries and may lead to high blood pressure.

Only you can change the way you react to stress.


Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease. The largest number of these deaths are caused by heart attack (5,000).

There are over 4,000 chemicals in a cigarette. Once you stop smoking your health improves immediately and you begin to reduce your risk of heart disease.

A recent Irish survey showed that: 34% of men and women had high blood pressure but were not on medication to control it. 18% were on medication but their blood pressure was still high. Only 40% of Irish men and women over the age of 45 had normal blood pressure levels.

By 2025 it is estimated that 1.5 billion people, that’s one in three people around the world could have high blood pressure if preventative steps are not taken soon.

High blood pressure rarely causes any outward symptoms.

You can get your blood pressure checked at your local medical centre.

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