Michael Lyster

  • Michael Lyster takes a break this week from commentating on the All Ireland finals to discuss another important September event, World Heart Day on Friday 29th90,0001 people in Ireland live with heart failure
  • Stand Up to Heart Failure aims to improve awareness of heart failure as an early diagnosis and treatment are key to ensuring people living with the condition can live longer, better lives

September 11th 2017, Dublin: September is synonymous with GAA and Croke Park, and the All-Ireland final weekends are marked in every fan’s calendar and anticipated all summer. Today Michael Lyster took a break from commentating on the finals to discuss another important September event, World Heart Day on Friday 29th. This September, the RTE Sunday Game presenter wants to encourage all of Ireland to unite and Stand Up to Heart Failure.

Heart Failure is a debilitating, life-threatening condition in which the heart cannot pump enough blood around the body because the muscle of the heart become too weak or too stiff to work properly2. However, with access to timely diagnosis, appropriate medical management and follow-up services, a patient’s prognosis can be significantly improved. It is estimated that 90,000 people live with the condition in Ireland1. Due to Ireland’s ageing population, heart failure is set to increase dramatically, leading to an increase in hospitalisations from heart failure of more than 50% over the next 25 years3.

Campaign ambassador Michael Lyster opened up about his own experience with heart failure at today’s launch: “Croke Park is one of the biggest stadiums in Europe, with an impressive match day capacity of 82,300. But if everyone in Ireland living with heart failure was invited to Croke Park for the All Ireland final, we would have to build an extra stand as there are 90,000 people living with this chronic condition, and they certainly wouldn’t be standing in the Hill for the duration of a 70-minute game.

For me, heart failure became apparent in the middle of my ‘busy’ season, championship time, and gradually I started feeling worse and worse. I had no energy, I was waking up in the middle of the night panting for breath. I couldn’t ignore it any longer; I went to the doctor and was diagnosed with heart failure.

It was important for me to get involved in this campaign as I understand how frustrating it can be for those living with heart failure, as it is often a forgotten condition. Heart failure is something you can manage on a day to day basis. Yes, you have to make sure you take your medication, watch what you eat and drink and get your exercise. But you can’t let it hold you back. I had to stand up to my condition, not let it impact my work or my life. I encourage everyone to familiarise themselves with the symptoms and risk factors, and to visit your doctor if you have concerns and to make sure you get the best treatment available.”

Stand Up to Heart Failure, a campaign supported by Croí, Heartbeat Trust, Irish Heart, and Novartis, aims to raise awareness of the red flag symptoms of heart failure. These symptoms include; fatigue; shortness of breath, especially with activity or lying flat; swollen feet or ankles. Common risk factors of heart failure to be aware of are; high blood pressure, previous heart attack(s), and diabetes. If you are concerned about heart failure, please speak to your doctor for more information.

Prof Ken McDonald, Clinical Director of Heartbeat Trust said; “At the Heartbeat Trust we are delighted to be part of the collective effort to raise awareness of this condition. The Heart Failure Toolkit is a wonderful online resource for anyone interested in learning more about the condition and I encourage those who are concerned to utilise it. The Heartbeat Trust is here to help all those living with heart failure in Ireland. Awareness of the condition, its symptoms and preventive measures is so important to ensure a long and healthy life.”


Please click here to access our heart failure toolkit.