Half a million people at risk from ‘the silent killer’

A recent study carried out by ‘May Measurement Month’ revealed that half a million people in the South East are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Up to 500,000 people in South East England are unaware they are living with high blood pressure, according to new estimates.

Figures show that a quarter of adults in the South East region, around 1.8 million, have high blood pressure.

Stat's high blood pressure

May Measurement Month campaign

‘May Measurement Month’ (MMM) is a global awareness campaign started up by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) which represents scientists, health care providers, clinicians and health care workers who aim to improve public awareness of high blood pressure.

If untreated, high blood pressure also known as ‘The silent killer’ can result in a significant risk of a heart attack, a stroke or vascular dementia.

Dr Sonal Shah told The Canterbury Hub: “Raised blood pressure doesn’t usually cause any symptoms, which is why it can go undiagnosed for a very long time, but in that time it can still do considerable damage to the eye, heart and other organs in the body.

“When BP is very high it can cause headaches, vomiting, blurred vision, or nose bleeds.”

British Heart Foundation leaflet

However, if the condition is detected early it can be treated with a combination of simple lifestyle changes and medication.

The BHF is urging people to get their blood pressure tested. It can be done at home, in a pharmacy or at your local GP surgery. The charity is supporting MMM in their journey to raise awareness.

What the professionals think

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of The British Heart Foundation said: “Getting your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack a stroke.

These figures show that millions of adults of all ages are living with untreated high blood pressure – a ticking time bomb that puts their future health in jeopardy.”

British Heart Foundation Logo

He added: “Having your pressure checked takes less than five minutes, but it is all too easy to put it on the back burner in our hectic day to day lives.

“That’s why we’re urging everyone to take a moment this month and get their pressure checked – it could ultimately save your life.”

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Warwick and President of the British and Irish Hypertension Society said: “Over 10 million people die each year due to conditions related to high blood pressure (hypertension) – such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure – but unless hypertension is detected we cannot treat it to prevent these conditions.

High blood pressure screening

Screening is cheap and takes only a few minutes to measure someone’s pressure which if raised can be easily treated. May Measurement Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of knowing your heart levels. Everyone should join in and support this unique initiative”.

Blood pressure test.

A local nurse told The Canterbury Hub how you can lower your risk, Jo Thrussel said: “You can avoid high blood pressure by eating a healthy diet, this includes reducing your intake of salt, maintaining a healthy weight and regularly exercising.”

Check your pressure

Checking your pressure is quick, free and easy. It could save your life. Find out more on how to get checked here