Visit a drop-in centre to get your blood pressure checked

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A PILOT scheme is being launched today in Yorkshire to identify people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Public Health England is joining local businesses, pharmacies and public services to launch the pilot campaign in Wakefield.

Nearly a third of adults, around 84,000 people in Wakefield, are estimated to have high blood pressure, but about 30,000 people are not yet diagnosed.

High blood pressure causes more than 20 per cent of heart attacks and 50 per cent of strokes.

Last year in Wakefield, there were more than 1,000 emergency admissions to hospital for a heart attack or stroke. During the same period, 179 people died from a heart attack and 148 from a stroke.

The four-week campaign will encourage people aged 40 and over to visit one of 50 blood pressure drop-ins across the area from March 10 offering free tests.

Community pharmacies, Wakefield Council, West Yorkshire Police, and local businesses including Arriva, Asda and Morrisons are involved in the campaign 
and encouraging employees and customers to have the quick test.

Stephen Morton, Public Health England’s centre director for Yorkshire, said: “Your chance of having high blood pressure increases as you get older however the condition is often symptomless and is impossible to spot without a test.” Coun Janet Holmes, Mayor of Wakefield, is backing the campaign.

She said: “Having experienced a heart attack myself and losing my husband to the same condition last year, I know first-hand the importance of getting your blood pressure checked. It could save your life, it’s as simple as that.

“If high blood pressure is identified, there are treatments available, but time is of the essence. If untreated, your risk of a heart attack or stroke increases.”

Survey evidence suggests almost a third of adults in Yorkshire are surprised high blood pressure rarely has any symptoms.

There are steps people can take to help manage their blood pressure, including losing weight, exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and eating a healthy diet.

Andrew Furber, director of public health at Wakefield Council, said: “There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure. There are several risk factors including being overweight, drinking a lot of alcohol and lack of exercise.”

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