Listen to your Heart. Early Detection is Key

Published Monday, November 12th, 2018 at 15:51 pm

Article published on The Phoenix on November 2-15, 2018 (Vol. 36, No.22)

Celebrated every November, Men’s Health Month focuses on promoting health and wellness through national screening and education outreach for men of every age.

While the typical Irish man is becoming more aware of the need to maintain overall health, early detection and treatment of preventable health problems is just as important. Not least because certain conditions are more prevalent in men, meaning patients and their doctors should keep an eye on them through regular appointments.

A prime example is Cardiovascular Disease (CVD), which according to the Irish Heart Foundation is the most common cause of death and disability in Ireland. Approximately 10,000 people die each year from cardiovascular disease, which includes many conditions affecting the structures or function of the heart such as:

  • Coronary artery disease (including heart attack)
  • Abnormal heart rhythms or arrhythmias (including strokes that frequently encountered with irregular rhythm called Atrial Fibrillation)
  • Congenital arrhythmia and sudden cardiac death
  • Heart failure
  • Heart valve disease
  • Congenital heart disease
  • Heart muscle disease (cardiomyopathy)
  • Pericardial disease
  • Aorta disease and Marfan syndrome
  • Vascular disease (blood vessel disease)

When should I seek advice? Everyone is different, but we recommend having a heart health check if you are over 40 years old. This is important as you may not be aware that you have the risk factors associated with heart disease. Often there are no symptoms. So, it is important to get your GP to check your risks frequently, to ensure your heart is healthy.


Heart Disease - Men's Health

According to Dr Usama Boles, Consultant Cardiologist specialising in heart rhythm disorders in Mater Private Hospital, men over the age of 18 should at least get their blood pressure checked every two years and Cholesterol screening every five years starting at age 35. Similarly, those men who are engaging in strenuous activities and/or competitive sports, they may have their rhythm checked routinely.

Regardless of age you should contact your GP if your pulse is:

  • Fast and racing some or most of the time and you feel unwell.
  • Slow some or most of the time and you feel unwell.
  • Consistently above 110 beats per minute.
  • Consistently below 50 beats per minute.
  • Beating in an irregular rhythm.

Dr Boles states that fundamentally it is about listening to your heart and understanding that becoming active participants in the management of their health, men can lead healthier, more active lifestyles. This includes learning about early detection including the diagnostic services and treatment options available.

So, for example if your heart gets out of rhythm, a simple pulse check at the Mater Private can be a way of identifying if there is an underlying condition such as Atrial Fibrillation, which produces an uneven heartbeat, or a change in the rate.

At the Mater Private Hospital in Dublin we have a multi-disciplinary team of world class experts and specialists that offer diagnosis and treatment covering the full spectrum of cardiac conditions. This ensures that patients receive the most up-to-date and widest range of diagnostic and therapeutic options, individually tailored to specific needs.

Our facilities include:

  • 3 Cardiac Catheterisation Laboratories
  • Dedicated Electrophysiology Laboratory
  • Dedicated Peripheral Vascular Laboratory
  • 24-hour 7 day a week Urgent Cardiac Care Service
  • Cardiac Imaging

We also have Ireland’s first and largest Electrophysiology Group Practice based across six clinic locations nationwide (Dublin, Drogheda, Mullingar, Navan, Limerick and Sligo).

While these facilities are a fantastic resource, at the end of the day it is up to men to commit to better health, not just during Men’s Health Month, but all year-round. So for early detection and treatment of heart disease make it your priority to contact the Heart & Vascular Centre at the Mater Private.

For more information and resources, go to or email

If you experience chest pain, palpitations or breathlessness the Urgent Cardiac Care Centre at the Mater Private Hospital is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to care for you.  Call 1800 247 999

Dr Usama Boles is a Consultant Cardiologist specialising in Heart Rhythm Disorders at the Mater Private Hospital, Dublin.