Do you have undiagnosed high blood pressure?

Public Health England is urging more people to get their blood pressure checked, claiming only half the adult population knows what their blood pressure is.

According to PHE, as many as 5.5 million adults in England have undiagnosed high blood pressure – that’s the equivalent of seven undiagnosed people for every 10 people diagnosed with the condition. It also means those who are undiagnosed may have a higher-than-average risk of having a heart attack, stroke or even vascular dementia.

One in four affected

High blood pressure is often described as the ‘silent’ killer, as it rarely causes symptoms.

The condition affects more than one in four people in England, claims PHE, and was responsible for around 75,000 deaths in 2015.

PHE experts are calling for all adults over the age of 40 to get their blood pressure tested as part of the NHS Health Check. However, there are other ways to get tested – for example, many local Careway pharmacies offer blood pressure testing, often without an appointment.

However you do it, having your blood pressure checked is easy. And even if the results show your blood pressure is high, it can be managed and reduced.

Know your numbers

“It is a serious problem when a disease that is largely preventable, like high blood pressure, is one of the leading causes of premature death and ill-health in the country,” says Professor Kevin Fenton, director of health and wellbeing at PHE.

“We all memorise important numbers in our lives, whether it’s our PIN and telephone numbers or the latest football scores. Knowing your blood pressure number is an easy step to take that has the potential to save your life.”

Catherine Kelly of the British Heart Foundation agrees that the news of 5.5 million people in England living with undiagnosed high blood pressure is unwelcome. “For a condition which is so easily detected and managed, this figure is simply unacceptable and we need an urgent improvement in the number of people diagnosed with this silent killer,” she says.

High blood pressure – and its effects such as heart disease, stroke and vascular dementia – may be improved or prevented by making simple lifestyle changes. These include maintaining a healthy weight, having an active lifestyle, reducing your salt, saturated fat and alcohol intake, and knowing your blood pressure numbers.

If you haven’t had yours tested in a while, ask your local Careway pharmacist if they offer blood pressure testing. It’s a quick and easy way to check your blood pressure – often without having to make an appointment. And if your blood pressure results do turn out to be higher than they should be, your pharmacist will refer you to your GP for further tests and information.

Your pharmacist can also give you lots of tips on maintaining a healthy blood pressure. Just pop in to your local Careway pharmacy today (find your nearest participating Careway pharmacy by using our Pharmacy Finder).