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Ireland’s ageing population is predicted to lead to a dramatic increase in heart failure, a knock-on effect of which will be an increase in hospitalisations from heart failure of more than 50 per cent over the next 25 years. It is estimated that 90,000 people live with the condition in Ireland.

In light of this, The Irish Heart Foundation has today launched a new campaign, ‘Pay Attention to the Signs’, to raise awareness of heart failure symptoms in the hope that those aged 50 and over to be equipped to detect their symptoms, and significantly improve their prognosis in the process.

The foundation has warned that swollen ankles, fatigue, and shortness of breath are signs that should never be ignored.

Speaking at today’s launch regarding his personal experience with heart failure was Sunday Game presenter Michael Lyster, who stated: Looking back now, the warning signs of heart failure were clearly there, but I didn’t realise what was coming down the road. I was ignoring a lot of things that were happening to me, and that was a mistake. I was constantly tired, my ankles were swollen, and I would wake up at night panting for breath. Eventually, it got to a stage where I couldn’t ignore it any longer”.

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundationcommented; ‘When we see warning signs on the road we pay attention. But, when it’s our own body, sometimes we can ignore the signs. Heart failure can often go unnoticed because its symptoms come on gradually.

“It’s easy to attribute tiredness to a busy lifestyle, and breathlessness to being out of shape. These are signs we need to watch out for. If you are concerned about heart failure, please contact the Irish Heart Foundation’s nurse helpline on 1800 25 25 50 or visit Knowyourheart.ie”.

The Irish Heart Foundation will hold two public information meetings for those concerned about heart failure in the coming weeks, in The Ashling Hotel (April 12th)  and Woodlands Hotel (April 19th).