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Get your blood pressure checked

Image for Get your blood pressure checked
Get your blood pressure checked

10th May 2024 - Hot Topics

This May Measure Month (MMM), eligible people in the Black Country are being reminded to visit their local pharmacy for a blood pressure check.

Led by the International Society of Hypertension, MMM is an annual global screening campaign which aims to educate people on the importance of having their blood pressure checked regularly, as raised blood pressure is the number one cause of preventable death worldwide.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a serious condition where your heart is made to consistently work harder to pump blood around your body.

It often has no symptoms and can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening conditions such as heart disease, heart attack, stroke, heart failure, kidney disease and dementia.

People who might be more at risk of having high blood pressure include those who:
• are overweight
• do not do enough exercise
• drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
• smoke
• have a lot of stress
• eat too much salt and not enough fruit or vegetables
• are over 65 years old
• are of Black African or Black Caribbean descent.

All adults over 40 years old are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

In the Black Country it is estimated there are around 75,000 people with undiagnosed hypertension and so the NHS is reminding people aged 40 and over who haven’t had a blood pressure check in the last six months to come forward.

Dr Sunil Nadar, Clinical Lead Cardiologist at The Dudley Group NHS Foundation Trust and MMM National Lead for England, said: “High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms which is why it is called the ‘silent killer’. It can significantly raise your risk of a life-threatening heart attack, heart failure, or stroke, and the only way to know you have the condition is to get your blood pressure measured.

“High blood pressure can often be prevented or reduced by eating healthily (especially reducing salt in the diet), maintaining a healthy weight, taking regular exercise, drinking alcohol in moderation and not smoking. Some people with high blood pressure will also need to take one or more medicines to stop their blood pressure getting too high – what works best is different for each person.

“Checking your blood pressure is quick, simple and painless, and it could save your life. So, if you don’t know what your blood pressure is, May is the time to find out.”

Selected community pharmacies across the Black Country offer a free blood pressure check service for people aged 40 and over with no previous history of high blood pressure. You can find a pharmacy that offers free blood pressure checks near you here.

Stephen Noble, local pharmacist and Chief Officer of the Community Pharmacy Dudley, said: “May Measure Month is a great opportunity for raise awareness of high blood pressure and the importance of having a blood pressure check.

“If you’re aged 40 and over and you’re not already being monitored by a doctor, you can quickly and easily get your blood pressure checked by going into your local pharmacy. It’s a free, simple and non-invasive test, conducted in privacy, and you don’t need to book in advance.

“Depending on the result, the pharmacist might give you advice to support healthy living, give you a blood pressure monitor to take home with you and return later, or advise you to see a GP. Your blood pressure readings are also sent to your GP so your health records can be updated.”

For more information about high blood pressure and May Measure Month, visit the NHS Black Country Integrated Care Board website here.