Programme to tackle chest issues

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Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke are running a Taking Control Self-Management Programme for people with long-term chest, heart and stroke conditions in Brownlow.

The programme is running for six weeks at the Brownlow Community Hub and is free to attend.

It starts on Tuesday, January 13 and will run each Tuesday for six consecutive weeks.

Father-of-two Paddy Lynas has spoken about the benefits of the programme. He thought his life was over when he was diagnosed with COPD, a respiratory disease.

Then he got a letter from Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke asking if he would like to join the programme for people with long-term chest, heart and stroke conditions.

Paddy commented, “To be honest, I wasn’t sure it was going to work. I was depressed, I found it hard to breathe and my skin was grey.

“But part of the idea of self-management is that you make a promise about what you hope to achieve. I said I would walk three miles, and I did. Then I promised I would walk six. Before too long, I’d lost more than two stones in weight and stopped all my tablets. Walking is my medicine now. But if it hadn’t been for NI Chest Heart & Stroke, I simply wouldn’t be here today. They saved my life.”

Long-term health conditions, like Paddy’s, can affect all parts of life, not just our health. People living with long-term health conditions also have to learn to cope with any changes they might have to make to their work, social or family lives. Readjusting can be difficult on a practical and emotional level, but the programme aims to give people with long-term conditions the skills to coordinate all the things needed to manage their health, as well as to help them keep active in their lives.