Women in Dublin are urged to sign up for a major online webinar aimed at helping them to take care of their heart health.
This September the Irish Heart Foundation is running the ‘Her Heart Matters’ campaign with support of the HSE and Healthy Ireland, to increase awareness of the risk of heart disease and stroke in women and the fact that this risk increases as women enter menopause.
Broadcaster Maura Derrane, 53, will lead a group of health experts during the 29th September free event. Ms. Derrane said the webinar will share small but impactful changes that women can make in their busy lives to minimise their risk of heart disease and stroke.
“Last year, 4,656 women died from heart disease,” said Ms Derrane. “In other words, more than a quarter, or 27%, of female deaths in 2022 were as a result of cardiovascular problems.
“Most women lead extremely busy, time-pressured lives, but hopefully this national conversation will encourage women in Dublin to prioritise themselves a little more and make small, sustainable lifestyle changes, which can make a big difference to their heart health.”
One of the webinar panellists, Maura Canning, will tell how she was a “walking time-bomb” who discovered by chance that her blood pressure was sky-high after visiting the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit during an agricultural conference.
Days later, the 52-year-old farmer from East Galway was admitted to hospital. “By the time I got to the emergency department, the doctors were astonished that I had not had a stroke or heart attack due to my high blood pressure,” she said.
“If you don’t look after yourself, nobody else is going to look after you. I take time to do stuff for myself whereas I didn’t for years. The expectation is you’re supposed to be the go-to for everything, but that doesn’t work. Women need to look after their own health.”
Maura now manages the condition, known as the silent killer due to the absence of obvious symptoms, with medication and lifestyle changes.
Irish Heart Foundation dietitian, Orna O’Brien, said heart disease in women over the years has been under-researched, under-diagnosed and under-treated. She said: “It’s often assumed that heart disease is predominantly a male problem, but that’s not the case.”
“The commonly known risk factors, including smoking and high blood pressure, can be deadlier for women and females also have specific pregnancy and menopause-related risk factors.”
As part of the campaign, supported by the HSE, Health & Wellbeing, as part of their delivery of Healthy Ireland, the Irish Heart Foundation has developed a range of resources such as a Self-care and Wellbeing Journal and 28-day plan to support women to protect their heart.
These, along with more information about the ‘Her Heart Matters’ campaign and webinar, can be found on irishheart.ie.
The Her Heart Matters campaign encourages everyone who has a woman in their life – a sister, mother, friend – to talk to them about heart health, share the message and tips with them and empower them to make small, sustainable lifestyle changes for the good of their heart health.
To attend the free webinar, register on irishheart.ie or on Eventbrite