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In this weeks Topic, continuing the Cardio theme, more information that may help prevent heart disease

Posted by Eamonn Brady on

Preventing heart disease

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is also known as heart disease and is the biggest killer in Ireland. It includes conditions such as coronary heart disease (angina and heart attack) and stroke. In Ireland in 2000, heart disease was the number one cause of death and was responsible for 41% of all deaths.


If you are concerned about your risk of heart disease, Whelehans Pearse St have a heart screening service. The screening takes less than half an hour. Our pharmacist will check your blood pressure, your cholesterol, blood glucose (for diabetes) and your body mass index. You can simply ring us at 04493 34591 to book your appointment.


Risk factors

High Blood Pressure

High blood pressure is one of the biggest factors for heart disease. High BP affects up to 50% of middle-aged and older people. High BP has no symptoms so routine checks are essential, especially on those over 50. Trials have shown that achieving the recommended blood pressure of 140/90 gives a 42% reduction in stroke, a 14% reduction in heart attacks and a 21% reduction in cardiovascular deaths. There is evidence that high blood pressure can increase risk of dementia in later life. In Whelehans we can check your blood pressure for free.



Cholesterol is another big factor for heart disease. The World Health Organisation estimates that almost 20% of strokes and 50% of heart attacks are linked to high cholesterol. The amount of cholesterol present in the blood can range from 3.6 to 7.8 mmol/litre. A level above 6 mmol/litre is considered high. Evidence strongly indicates that high cholesterol levels can cause narrowing of the arteries (atherosclerosis), heart attacks, and strokes. Our genes has the biggest influence on our cholesterol level, however diet also has a big influence.


Modifiable lifestyle changes           

Modifiable risk factors are factors a person has influence over and can make a decision to change. The single most important modifiable risk factor is smoking. Smokers in their 30s and 40s are five times more likely to have a heart attack than non-smokers. Other factors that reduce the risk of heart disease include regular exercise (equivalent to brisk walking for 3 hours or more per week) and loss of weight in overweight or obese people. Making healthier food choices with reduction in consumption of saturated fat and salt and increased consumption of oily fish and fruit and vegetables is recommended. Moderation of alcohol intake (to less than 2 units per day in females and 3 units per day in males) will reduce cardiovascular risk.


Non-Modifiable risk factors

Non modifiable risk factors are factors a person cannot change and include age, sex, and family history of heart disease. Before menopause, women have a lower risk of heart disease than men of the same age but after menopause, their risk is similar.


Can Supplements reduce risk of heart disease

No supplement will reduce your risk of heart disease. There is no better way to prevent heart disease than eating healthy and exercising. However, some supplements may increase your chances of fighting heart disease.



Fish oil stimulates blood circulation, increases the breakdown of fibrin, a compound involved in clot and scar formation, and additionally has been shown to reduce blood pressure. There is strong scientific evidence that omega fatty acids reduce blood triglyceride levels and regular intake reduces the risk of secondary and primary heart attack. Omega 3 supplements are beneficial if you don’t eat a lot of fish.  MorEPA is the highest concentration Omega 3 supplement on the market and is now available in Whelehans.


Co Enzyme Q10

If you already take a cholesterol lowering drug called a statin, you may benefit from Co-Enzyme Q10. Statins reduce Co Enzyme Q10, a vital nutrient in almost every cell of the body. Whelehans Co Q10 (Price €14.99) contains 100mg of Co Enzyme Q10 so helps prevent side effects of statins such as:

  • Headaches
  • Tired aching muscles
  • Muscle cramps
  • General fatigue


Statins include Atorvastatin (eg) Lipitor®, Atorvas; Pravastatin (eg) Lipostat®, Pravatin®; Rosuvastatin  (eg) Crestor®, Rosuva® and Simvastatin  (eg) Zocor®, Inegy®, Sivatin®


BPro Cardio Screen

BPro Cardio Screen is a cardiovascular health check. This test measures the stiffness of your arteries to help identify risk of blockages and risk of cardiovascular disease and circulation problems. Screening takes a couple of minutes. BPRo is placed like a watch on your wrist and is completely pain free. A laser diode reads and calculates a wave signal that indicates the elasticity of large, small, and peripheral artery walls as well as tests for stress, central blood pressure, heart rate, and more. It is now only €35 (was €50). Next Clinic is Thursday March 28th (next week) at Whelehans Pearse St Mullingar. Book by calling Whelehans at 04493 34591 or PM us on facebook.


BPro Cardio Screen is not meant as a substitute for proper medical assessment with your doctor and should not replace prescription medication. Food supplements are not a substitute for a healthy diet.


For health advice and information call in to Whelehans Pharmacies, log on to or dial 04493 34591 (Pearse St) or 04493 10266 (Clonmore).

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