Diabetes Ireland’s Heart Health Webinar Strikes a Chord

The inaugural Diabetes Ireland webinar of 2024, centred on heart failure, occurred on February 28th. With over 400 registrations, 200 participants joined the webinar, and the response was overwhelmingly positive.


Sarah McErlean, a General Practitioner specialising in heart health research at UCD and serving at the heart failure clinic in St. Michael’s Hospital, Dun Laoghaire, reiterated the key messages of Diabetes Ireland’s ‘Check, Know, Discuss’ campaign. This campaign highlights the 2-4 times higher risk of heart failure faced by individuals with diabetes and emphasises the availability of a new blood test for early detection, accessible through one’s GP or diabetes care team.


Dr. McErlean explained that an individual’s risk factors for heart failure depend on various factors, including the duration of diabetes, blood glucose and pressure control, the presence of other heart or kidney diseases, cholesterol levels, and weight. She clarified that ‘heart failure’ does not mean the heart has stopped functioning but rather that it’s not operating at optimal efficiency, distinct from a heart attack and not necessarily cause for alarm upon diagnosis. Common signs include shortness of breath, swelling, diminished appetite, and fatigue.



Despite the potential for heart failure to progress gradually without symptoms, the introduction of the new blood test holds significant value. Strategies to mitigate risk include managing blood pressure, attending routine check-ups, maintaining a healthy weight, abstaining from smoking, and moderating alcohol consumption. Attendees were encouraged to adhere to regular appointments with their diabetes care team to monitor these parameters.


Furthermore, the importance of exercise for overall health was emphasised, with Dr McErlean advocating for 30 minutes of exercise five days a week, incorporating activities such as walking, preferred sports, or resistance training to enhance strength and balance.


To learn more about this recent campaign, click here.


Our next free webinar is set for April 24th, spotlighting the power of Exercise. Stay tuned for exciting details to be revealed in the coming weeks!