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'I didn’t realise what was coming down the road' - Michael Lyster on living with heart failure

Sunday Game presenter Michael Lyster has spoken today about his experience of living with heart failure.

He was speaking at the launch of a new Irish Heart Foundation campaign, Pay Attention to the Signs, to raise awareness of heart failure symptoms.

“Looking back now, the warning signs of heart failure were clearly there, but I didn’t realise what was coming down the road," he said.

"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.”

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body, as the walls of the heart become too weak or too stiff to work properly.

It is estimated that 90,000 people live with the condition in Ireland. However, with access to timely diagnosis, appropriate medical management and follow-up services, a patient’s prognosis can be significantly improved.

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director, Irish Heart Foundation, said: "‘When we see warning signs on the road we pay attention. But, when it’s our own body, sometimes we can ignore the signs.

Michael Lyster at the campaign launch today.

"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 campaign, supported by Novartis, aims to encourage those aged 50 and over to be aware of the signs of heart failure, such as swollen ankles, fatigue, and shortness of breath.

The Irish Heart Foundation will hold two public information meetings for those concerned about heart failure in the coming weeks; at The Ashling Hotel, Parkgate Street, Dublin 8 on April 12, from 6.30-9pm and at the Woodlands Hotel, Dunmore Road, Waterford on April 19, from 6.30-9pm.

- Digital desk