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Article date - 18 September 2017
Shockingly, there are over 50,000 people in St Helens with high blood pressure - an estimated 18,000 of whom are unaware they have the condition.
High blood pressure has no obvious symptoms but it is linked to at least 50 per cent of all strokes and heart attacks and increases the risk of kidney disease and dementia.
This year, Blood Pressure UK cautions that a poor diet and excess salt intake is leading more young people to develop high blood pressure putting them at risk of having an early stroke. Help to STOP stroke and other illnesses by knowing your numbers just like you know your height and weight.
Figures show the proportion of strokes in working age people (those aged 25 to 64) has increased2,3 despite an overall drop in the number of strokes. Blood Pressure UK is urging people, regardless of age, to check their blood pressure as part of Know Your Numbers! Week.
Key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are largely lifestyle-related such as eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not taking enough exercise.
Blood pressure can be lowered by changes to your lifestyle and if necessary taking medication as directed by your doctor.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Public Health and Wellbeing, Councillor Gill Neal, said: “The message to people is to take charge of their health and get their blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but remains one of the leading causes of death. As an individual having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”
Shefalee Loth, Nutritionist at Blood Pressure UK added: “Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in younger patients with high blood pressure, often as a result of too much salt and poor diet. If you start making small changes to your lifestyle when you are young, such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables, taking more exercise and keeping to a healthy weight, you will stay healthier and prevent strokes and heart disease.”
There are a number of Free drop-in sessions where you can get your blood checked in St Helens.
Health Trainers from the Healthy Living Team also offer FREE health checks to anyone in St Helens aged 16+. The health check provides you with a current picture of your health, and includes a blood pressure check as well as other measurements such as height, weight, BMI, cholesterol and diabetes testing. Call Healthy Living on 0300 300 0103 to book your FREE health check.
Some pharmacies can also provide blood pressure checks. Check with your local pharmacy.