The Midland Regional Hospital at Tullamore will hold its annual health awareness day today - Thursday, October 11. The day is organised to promote the important message of improving health, and clinical nurse manager at the hospital Clare O'Dea said one of the most important ways people can do that is by being more informed and educated on maintaining a healthy lifestyle and being able to identify potential health risks. During today staff and members of the public will have the opportunity to meet with health specialists to discuss a variety of issues.
Chronic diseases such as cardiovascular, respiratory and diabetes to name a few are responsible for nearly one million deaths each year, but many of these deaths can be prevented by living healthier lives. Small steps can make a huge difference, with information and prevention key.
Everyone has blood pressure. It shows the amount of work that your heart has to do pump blood around the heart. The normal level of blood pressure is usually 120/80, but this can vary with age, how you feel and activity. If you get your blood pressure checked and are told it is high it is important that you discuss it with your doctor. One high reading does not mean you have high blood pressure - your doctor will want to check it on several occasions. A person with high blood pressure may feel well, look well and rarely have symptoms. However high blood pressure makes the heart and arteries work harder, causing damage over the years. This can lead to heart attack and stroke at an earlier age than people with normal blood pressure. Fortunately diagnosis and treatment at an early stage can reduce premature cardiovascular disease.
Heart disease is the biggest cause of death in Ireland for both men and women. However, for many people heart disease can be delayed or even prevented. Healthy eating, being physically active and not smoking all help to reduce your chances of heart disease. One of the best ways to prevent heart disease is to keep your cholesterol at a healthy level.
Cholesterol is a type of fat found in your blood. You need a certain amount of cholesterol for all your body cells and to produce important hormones. However if there is too much cholesterol in your blood, it sticks to the inner lining of your artery or blood vessel to form athroma. As a result of this build up on the artery walls, your arteries become narrowed. This process is called hardening of the arteries or arthersclerosis. If the artery supplying the heart muscle becomes blocked completely, the heart muscle becomes damaged. This is known as a heart attack. If an artery to the brain is completely blocked, it damages the brain. This is called a stroke.
In addition to information like the above and more, tests will be available during today from 10am until 12.30pm and from 2pm to 4pm. Tests available will include diabetes and blood sugar testing, blood pressure and cholesterol checks and lung function testing.