THIS September marks Heart Month and the Irish Heart Foundation is calling on Irish men to look after the most important motor they own, in a drive to reverse the worrying trend which sees five men under the age of 65 dying from heart attack every week.
A new prevention campaign launched by the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke urges Irish men to take a different approach to their heart health. The campaign aims to reduce deaths from cardiovascular disease, the number one killer among men, and to save some of the hundreds of male lives that are lost prematurely here to heart attack every year.
‘A man’s guide to heart health’, a new manual published by the Irish Heart Foundation to mark Heart Month, urges men to compare their heart to the motor of their favourite car and recognise that in their lifetime it’s the most important engine that they’ll ever own.
Maureen Mulvihill, Health Promotion Manager at the Irish Heart Foundation explained: “Like any motor, the heart needs to be fuelled properly and serviced regularly. You wouldn’t put diesel into a petrol engine, because it would break down, or leave your car not driven for years without expecting it to seize up. The same applies to the heart. For example, with 44% of men aged 51-64 overweight and 42% in this age group obese, this is clearly one part of their motor they are not taking care of.
Across all ages, 7 in 10 Irish men are overweight or obese suggesting that being overweight has become the norm. This is despite the many risks for the heart and health, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and risk of Type 2 diabetes.
“We need to ensure that men are equipped with the best possible tools to prevent them reaching a point when a heart attack symptom may strike. The Irish Heart Foundation’s step by step manual takes into account modern lifestyles and tackles, in a positive way, the various behaviours and risk factors that lead to heart attack.”
The men’s heart health manual, which is available free to the public, is part-funded by the HSE. It supports the Irish Heart Foundation’s nationwide ‘Listen to your heart, not your head’ heart attack awareness campaign which was launched last month by Westlife’s Nicky Byrne and family who were inspired by the personal loss of father and husband, Nikki Bryne Senior in 2009. The new campaign which features animated heart and brain characters arguing over whether to call an ambulance when heart attack symptoms strike, leaves viewers in no doubt but to call 999 at the first sign of heart attack.
Throughout September’s Heart Month, the Irish Heart Foundation will raise awareness of men’s heart health and deliver preventative advice and heart health clinics to men’s community groups across the country. In addition posters and flyers will be distributed to HSE facilities, workplaces, libraries, men’s groups, hospitals and GPs to drive important life saving messages.