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Dublin: 12 °C Tuesday 7 July, 2020
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A man, woman or child dies from heart disease and stroke every hour in Ireland

Today marks the first day of the Irish Heart Foundation’s Happy Hearts Appeal, which it hopes will raise €500,000 over the next three days.

Image: Heart disease in word collage via Shutterstock

AN AVERAGE OF 273 people are diagnosed each and every day with stroke or heart disease in Ireland, the Irish Heart Foundation has revealed.

Of the near 100,000 people that are diagnosed each year, one-third will die from these illnesses.

The national charity organisation is attempting to change this, however, by raising awareness as well as badly-needed funds over the next three days as part of their Happy Hearts Appeal.

The appeal, which begins today, hopes to raise €500,000 for the organisation.

The nationwide appeal comes at the same time as some starting statistics in Ireland:

  • Every hour a man, woman or child dies from heart disease and stroke.
  • Every week a baby, child or teen dies from sudden cardiac death.
  • Women are seven times more likely to die from heart disease than breast cancer.

The chief executive of the Irish Heart Foundation, Barry Dempsey, said:

The reality is that every time you finish watching your favourite one-hour TV Show, another man, woman or child has died from heart disease and stroke.
At the Irish Heart Foundation, we are here to help more people live longer and one of the key ways we do this is by providing essential information to patients and their families from the point of diagnosis right through to after care and changes to lifestyle.

On the inevitable questions that follow a diagnosis, the charity hopes to better deal with these through an expansion of their National Heart and Stroke Helpline, as well as through dedicated information days, its website and booklets.

“But none of this is possible without donations and that is why I am appealing to the public to please support us because your donation could help someone you know,” Dempsey said.

Last year over 750,000 people availed of this information service, with the charity expecting this number to grow in 2013.

Myths about heart disease and stroke

At the launch of the appeal, the charity’s medical director and cardiologist Dr Angie Brown took the time to dispel some common myths about heart disease and stroke.

“There are many misperceptions about cardiovascular disease – that it only affects old people, that it is a man’s disease and that there is nothing you can do it about it, it just happens,” she said. “The truth is that cardiovascular disease affects men and women equally, babies and children have been affected by strokes and heart conditions and there is something we can all do to reduce our risk.”

I strongly urge everyone to support the Happy Hearts Appeal because there isn’t a family in Ireland that hasn’t been touched by this disease. But with the right information, there is a lot you can do to prevent or manage this disease by not smoking, being more active, improving your diet, having regular blood pressure and cholesterol checks and taking your medication.

Happy heart badges can be purchased for €2 between the 9-11 May. As well as this, texting HEART to 50300 will also donate €2 to the charity. More information can be found on the charity’s website.

Read: More than 100k people diagnosed with stroke or coronary heart disease in 2012 >

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Paul Hyland

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