A man from Whitehaven has raised over £1500 for the Coronary Care Unit at the West Cumberland Hospital after his father received exceptional care following a heart attack.

Jason Todd, completed the Loch Ness marathon in just over four hours last Sunday 1st October.

He’s said, “At the end of last year my dad had an unexpected heart attack, which left everyone he knew extremely shocked and worried. He received exceptional care from West Cumberland Hospital and came home safe and sound after a week or so, which was an enormous relief and mega positive news for the family.  He is making more progress as the months go by which is great to see.

“Everyone who knows my dad knows, he is extremely fit for his age and loves to exercise; the medical professionals told him this saved his life.  Without this high level of fitness the heart attack would have been fatal.

“My goal of entering this marathon is to give back to the ward who looked after my dad, the standard of care was remarkable.  If this story impacts another family positively by influencing better/healthier life choices and ultimately prevents someone’s loved one from having a heart attack later on in life that’s job done for me.

“My dad has visited Scotland for years and absolutely loves it up there, he also has family and close friends from Scotland, so we decided this location was quite fitting. My goal was to raise £1000 for the Coronary Care Unit & Cardio Rehabilitation Centre at the West Cumberland Hospital.

Dr Louise Buchanan, Medical Director and Consultant Cardiologist said, “We are so grateful to Jason, not only for raising such a fantastic amount of money for the coronary care unit but also for raising awareness of healthier lifestyle choices in optimising your heart health.”

Top tips for heart health

  • Stop smoking: Smoking causes 15,000 heart and circulatory disease deaths every year [British Heart Foundation] and is the biggest contributor to heart attacks for those aged under 50. Research has shown giving up smoking is 3 times more likely to be successful if you use NHS support together with stop-smoking medicines, such as patches or gum.
  • Reduce alcohol: Binge drinking has been shown to increase the risk of heart attacks. The recommended alcohol allowance is 14 units a week spread over a few days with some days completely alcohol free.
  • Keep a healthy weight:: Being overweight or underweight increases the pressure on the heart and therefore your risk of developing a heart attack.
  • Eat healthy foods: For a healthy heart a low-fat, high-fibre diet is recommended, which should include plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (5 portions a day) and whole grains. Salt intake should be no more than 1 teaspoon a day and sugary foods should be limited.
  • Exercise: Combining a healthy diet with regular exercise is the best way of maintaining a healthy weight. Having a healthy weight reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure (which increases the risk of a heart attack).
  • Get regular health check-ups and manage your conditions: Regular check-ups through your GP will flag any signs of high blood pressure, cholesterol and diabetes among other conditions.
  • If you are diagnosed with a long term condition it is important to understand how to best control it and to take any medication regularly and as prescribed. If you don’t the risk of heart attacks increases significantly.

“These really are top tips to keep your heart healthy and although difficult for some people there are a range of things which can help. The NHS Better Health app and website have many interactive tools to help with all of these but if you don’t know where to go for advice, your GP is always a good place to start.”

The funds will be going to the Coronary Care Unit at the West Cumberland Hospital through the North Cumbria Hospitals Charity. 

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