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Health

09th Feb 2024

‘We asked a cardiologist if we really need to give up Diet Coke and coffee for our health’

Kat O'Connor

Are you being kind enough to your heart?

Are vapes healthy? Should we be using tanning beds? Is the blue light from my laptop damaging my eyes? We question our lifestyles so much, but what can we do to better our health? Cardiologist Dr. Roisin Colleran is encouraging Irish women to take control of their health and start by prioritising heart health.

We can often think heart disease is a male-centric disease, but it actually affects so many more women than you realise.

Cardiologist Dr. Roisin Colleran recently spoke to Her’s Kat O’Connor about why we need to look after our heart health more than ever

Women in their 20s and 30s are more stressed than ever. Our lives are frantic, our social calendars bustling, and our stress levels climbing. It’s time for us to step off the hamster wheel and realise that our bodies need a lot of TLC, and that starts with heart health. So much of what we do affects our hearts, especially when it comes to the drinks that get us through our hectic schedules. If you’re like the Her team then you’ll often be spotted with a can of Diet Coke or a cup of coffee on the regular. Are we too reliant on them to function? Maybe, but they make our life that little bit easier and stop us from falling asleep at our desks on a Wednesday afternoon. 

“Things like Diet Coke and coffee, they increase the risk of arrhythmias and irregular heartbeats”

Unfortunately, Dr. Roisin broke our hearts a little when she confirmed the ugly truth about Diet Coke and coffee. They’re pretty bad for our heart health. The beverages and our hearts are not the best of friends and my chat with Dr. Roisin encouraged me to switch to decaf coffee, a break-up tougher than the rest.

She explained why the drinks weren’t doing us any good. “Things like Diet Coke and coffee, increase the risk of arrhythmias and irregular heartbeats so we would see a lot of people and often young females with palpitations. And that is mainly because they drink a lot of caffeine.”

She has been a cardiologist for 15 years so she is to be trusted, even though I’m slightly devastated to be giving up on coffee. It may be a tricky step for someone who drinks coffee like Lorelai Gilmore but Dr. Roisin said 80% of cardiovascular issues can be prevented so why shouldn’t we start taking better care of our hearts?

The cardiologist is encouraging Irish women to make sure they’re always up to date with their heart checks. This means getting your cholesterol checked, as well as your blood pressure on a routine basis. We may be busier than ever but it’s time for us to squeeze in time for these health checks because they matter so much more than another afternoon brunch with your friends.

Women are caregivers but are we looking after ourselves enough?

There’s so much we can do to help our hearts like improving our lifestyle, exercising more, and eating healthier. Dr. Roisin also believes that sleep is key when it comes to your health. Many of us are guilty of spending hours scrolling through TikTok but it’s depriving us of a decent night of snoozing. The cardiologist explained: “We know that 80 to 90% of cardiovascular disease is preventable by preventing either the development of risk factors or if we have risk factors by identifying them and treating them first of all.

“Women should take responsibility for their heart health. They need to know that you should be getting your blood pressure and cholesterol checked when you’re in your 20s.

Dr. Roisin said we focus so much on caring for our loved ones, but we need to give ourselves just as much thought and consideration.

“As women, we tend to be caregivers and caretakers, but we can’t look after others if we’re neglecting ourselves. It’s a really important point to get across that your health is your wealth and something we shouldn’t take for granted.

Dr. Colleran’s words have helped me realise that heart health is something that nobody should neglect, especially women. Isn’t it time to ignore the wellness trends on TikTok for a second and invest more time in caring for your croí?

The Mater Private Network, renowned for its excellence in cardiology services, is encouraging people to care for their hearts in more ways than one this February 14th and consider “How good am I to my heart?”.