With the long evenings stretching ahead of us and warm sunshine promised, many of us will want to get out and excercise.
But how many of us will check to see that our heart is up to any type of strenuous activity.
To help you find out, the cardiac team at Nenagh Hospital wil be on hand this Wednesday to answer any questions you might have concerning the health of your heart as part of International Heart Failure Awareness Week.
If your heart is not functioning properly, blood supplied by the heart is insufficient for the body’s demands and you could go into heart failure.
Among the causes of heart failure are weakened heart muscle due to a heart attack which damages part of the heart muscle are a cause, long-term uncontrolled high blood pressure, damaged heart valves, alcohol or viral related damage.
Typical symptoms include breathlessness, extreme tiredness, and fluid retention which can cause swollen ankles. Loss of appetite and irregular heart rhythm can also occur, along with palpitations, dizziness or blackouts.
Your doctor can test you for any of these symptoms.
And this is where physical excercise comes in. Physical activity should be gradual and increased slowly over weeks, along with healthy eating involving a low fat diet, avoiding salt, eating oily fish twice weekly and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
Some patients with chronic heart failure benefit from attending a specialist nurse-led heart failure clinic for support, education and ongoing monitoring closely supervised by a consultant cardiologist for medical management.
This service is provided at the Heart Failure Support Unit in the outpatients department inNenagh. You will also get advice on how to reduce risk factors such as smoking, excess alcohol, high cholesterol or obesity.
Around 80 patients attend cardiac rehabilitation exercise classes in Nenagh Hospital every year.
Cardiac rehabilitation empowers participants to make changes in their lifestyle to improve their health and wellbeing.
It is divided into four phases, with each phase representing a different component of the journey of care: inpatient care, the early post discharge period, exercise training and finally the maintenance period of physical activity and lifestyle change.
Further information and advice available at Heart Failure Awareness Information Day on May 4, 9am-1pm in the Main Foyer, Nenagh Hospital.