People with angina should cover their face with a scarf in the cold weather
Cold air can bring on angina symptoms therefore, people with angina should cover their face with a scarf in the cold weather, avoid exercising after a heavy meal and use their GTN spray before they exercise.
These were just some of the helpful tips provided at the Irish Heart Foundation’s first National Heart Support Conference by Professor Vincent Maher, Consultant Cardiologist and former Medical Director of the Irish Heart Foundation.
Professor Maher addressed the well-attended patient information conference, which took place in Croke Park earlier this month, on a range of different heart conditions including, angina,heart attack and heart failure.
According to Prof Maher, the heart is like a house with different rooms or chambers and when things go wrong, these can be largely divided into plumbing (blockage in the coronary arteries or tubes that supply blood to the heart), pumping (heart failure) and electrical problems of the heart such as palpitations.
People with angina should cover their face with a scarf in the cold weather, avoid exercising after a heavy meal and use their GTN spray before they exercise.
These included, stopping smoking, maintaining a healthy weight, keeping blood pressure under control and reducing LDL cholesterol.
He explained that people with established heart disease should aim to have their LDL cholesterol below 1.4.
In relation to pumping problems or heart failure, which Prof Maher argued should be called heart inefficiency, he said it was important for people with the condition to balance their fluid intake. listen and take the advice of their doctor and nurse, avoid too much salt and excess alcohol and monitor their weight on a regular basis as increased weight may mean excess fluid retention.
On electrical problems in the heart, Prof Maher explained that the electricity in the heart coordinates blood moving from the top chambers to the bottom chambers so they do not all try to contract at the same time
He said that people can experience palpitations, and this is as a result of problems with the electricity in the heart. At times these palpitations can be more noticeable at night when you are lying on your left side.
People with established heart disease should aim to have their LDL cholesterol below 1.4.
He advised that most of the things that trigger palpitations begin with the letter S so, if possible, its best to avoid or minimise these : Smoking, Stimulants (caffeine), Spirits (too much alcohol),Sleeplessness, Stress and Sepsis (infection).
Removing these triggers solves most of the problems with palpitations, Prof Maher said.
Prof Maher was one of a number of expert speakers who addressed the Irish Heart Foundation’s first National Heart Conference. Others included Dr Virginia Silvari, Senior Pharmacist with Cork University Hospital, who discussed medicines for those living with a heart condition and Sinead Mulhern, Principal Clinical Psychologist in cardiac rehabilitation at the Mater Hospital in Dublin, who spoke about mental health and provided a number of practical tips for people living with a heart condition.
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