While you’re sitting in the dentist chair counting down the minutes until you’re done, your dentist isn’t just checking for cavities. Signs of heart disease and diabetes can actually be detected during your check-up.

I never knew this until I read Margaret Hawkin’s piece on getting check-ups on page 9. In fact, there are many things I’ve learned over the years from the health pages of Irish Country Living. The importance of knowing the location of your local defibrillator; the signs of breast cancer; the advancements in hearing aids (did you know there’s a hearing aid pen that sits in the middle of a table to pick up on different voices?) – these are just a snapshot.

Health is part of the weekly foundation of our publication, and with that we have themed this issue around it

I’m not the only one. I was reading back on a piece Margaret wrote for our 75th anniversary edition, reflecting on her 20 years as our health reporter.

She said sometimes she gets calls from readers, a year, even two, after an article was printed, asking for a copy, now that they or someone they know is dealing with a certain health condition. That in itself speaks volumes about the importance of reliable reporting.

Men’s health

Margaret also wrote that this paper has been especially important for highlighting men’s health. She said: “Many’s the farming woman who has told me of how they plonk Irish Country Living open on the health page in front of their husband, father, or son at the table saying, ‘Read that.’” Sometimes, however, the hint doesn’t need to be quite as obvious. Men pick up this paper for the property pages, but for all anybody knows, they are also flicking to a piece on prostate cancer.

Health is part of the weekly foundation of our publication, and with that we have themed this issue around it. Interviewing experts and providing signposts for health conditions are an integral part. However, it is the case studies that bring the medical information to life. The story isn’t always positive but sometimes it is, offering a glimmer of hope to someone in difficult times.

Lifesaving story

That was the intent behind our front cover, a lifesaving story in which Trish Boyce from Wexford successfully donated her kidney to her father John. Now that the two of them are over a year post-surgery and John has a new lease of life, you could say it’s easy for them to be positive. But it’s obvious from reading their story that their positivity was present throughout, and helped them through the tough days.

Farmers are experiencing tough times at the moment – the shocking weather; trying to plan in uncertain circumstances; tillage farmers waiting to plant; the pressure of silage running out; and the impact of all this on cash flow.

Farmers are resilient and these pressures and strains can really impact not just those out on the fields, but also everyone inside the farmhouse. Sarah McIntosh has a really practical piece on what people can do to look after their mental health and it is also the focus of Katherine O’Leary’s column this week. On top of this, we have articles on check-ups, health screening, food as medicine and pursuing a career in healthcare. All in all, we hope you find this to be an extremely informative issue.

In the Irish Farmers Journal, Rachel Donovan speaks to an audiologist who has advised older farmers to get their hearing checked before it’s too late.

Meanwhile, in other news, I got a call from Ciaran Mullooly last Friday morning to say he is running for European election. Ciaran has been writing a column with Irish Country Living but he will be taking a break from his slot on the back page to allow for a fair campaign.

Read more

Providing students with the relevant skills needed in today’s workforce

Meet the Maker: Deborah Maguire