Varadkar lends his support to World Physiotherapy Day

physio day


Sedentary behavior is a key risk factor in the development of Heart Failure and also contributes to the worsening of Heart Failure Symptoms in those with the condition.

Benefits of exercise mean:

·         You will have 24% less admissions to the Emergency Department.

·         Emergency visits to your GP will reduce by as much as 40%

·         Admissions to hospital will be reduced by one third

·         If you are admitted to hospital you will half your length of stay in hospital

Physiotherapists have a key role in helping people with long-term conditions achieve their goals, fulfil their potential and participate fully in society. This is the message that thousands of chartered physiotherapists are sending out on World Physiotherapy Day this September 8th.Many people with long-term health conditions or disabilities lead fulfilled lives but some don’t because they do not receive the right kind of support. This can be devastating to individuals and this waste of potential also has a cost to others, to families, communities and societies. A recent study showed that the loss of global economic output as a result of long-term conditions such as heart disease, diabetes, lung disease and cancer will be €57 trillion over the next 20 years. The overwhelming majority of scientific evidence shows that physical activity is a vital component of a healthy lifestyle. A growing body of scientific evidence has linked sedentary behaviour to increased health risks including an increased risk of Heart Failure, type 2 diabetes, metabolic syndrome, cancer and cardiovascular mortality. Regular physical activity improves health outcomes by reducing high blood pressure, lowering cholesterol levels, reducing the impact of inflammation, improving vascular function, directly improving heart function and overall an active lifestyle contributes to a longer healthier life. It has been shown that on average individuals with Heart Failure achieved less than 5000 steps a day with some achieving less than 2500 steps per day, ideally everyone needs to reach 10,000 steps. These individuals spend greater than 8.5 hours of their waking day involved in sedentary behaviours and can find it difficult to engage in local physical activity initiatives due to worsening symptoms of their Heart Failure, decreased mobility and frequent periods of hospital admissions.

These high levels of sedentary behaviours equate to worsening heart failure symptoms which in turn lead to decreased quality of life for individuals living with the condition. Physical activity interventions, including Heart Failure programmes are currently transforming thousands of lives each year throughout the country but there is still work to be done. The demand for fitness solutions targeting populations who have Heart Failure are continuously evolving. The Chartered Physiotherapists in Cardiac Services (CPCS) Group, a special interest group within the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists have recently acknowledged the specific training and education needs of our young Allied Health Care Professionals (AHP’s) to enable effective exercise assessment, prescription and training of heart failure patients throughout the country. The CPCS, with the support of the HSE have developed a blended learning course of undergraduate and postgraduate training modules to equip AHP’s with the required knowledge and expertise required to allow for the effective management and treatment of Heart failure patients under their care. This course involves an online component, lectures and a practical component which creates a productive learning environment.

This education and training of exercise specialists in the area of Heart Failure is exciting as without it sedentary behaviour patterns will continue in our communities and this can lead to worsening disease symptoms, decreasing health outcomes and in some cases even premature death. Programmes that encourage physical activity and movement in a safe and secure environment are therefore very appropriate for populations living with chronic diseases. Novel ways of keeping individuals with Heart failure active and positively engaging  with physical activity programmes is one of the key objectives set by the CPCS and the ISCP as a whole and thus the launch of this specially tailored fitness programme is exciting.

Jill Long President of the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) said “The people who seek and need the services of physiotherapists range from babies to older people, from people with profound disabilities to the highest performing athletes. Through our engagement with them and our focus on physical activity, exercise and movement we have the power to ensure that people reach their potential whatever that may be. We’d like to thanks Minister Varadkar for lending his support to our exercise initiative and for recognising what we are trying to achieve in World Physiotherapy Day.”

A recent national representative survey for the Irish Society of Chartered Physiotherapists (ISCP) has found an alarming lack of knowledge around some of the critical factors around obesity and the benefit of exercise to human health. When asked a series of questions around physical activity and exercise awareness a startling 82% of people were not aware that adults need at least 30 minutes of exercise five times a week is what is needed to remain healthy.

Date: 7. 9. 2015