This week Public Health England joins local businesses, pharmacies and public services to launch a pilot campaign in Wakefield to identify people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.
A new four-week campaign will encourage people aged 40 and over to visit one of over 50 blood pressure drop-ins set up across the area from 10 March, that make it convenient for people to get a quick, free test. Health workers will also be on hand to offer information and lifestyle advice, to help people achieve or maintain a healthy blood pressure, on a walk-in basis.
High blood pressure is estimated to cause over 20% of heart attacks and 50% of strokes, and last year in Wakefield there were over 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.
Nearly a third of adults (84,000 people) in Wakefield are estimated to have high blood pressure however around 30,000 people are not yet diagnosed.
Wakefield is uniting in the search for those with undiagnosed high blood pressure – everyone from community pharmacies, Wakefield Council and West Yorkshire Police, to local businesses including Arriva, Asda and Morrisons, are playing a part in raising awareness of the campaign and encouraging their employees and customers to have the quick test.
Dr Stephen Morton, Public Health England’s Centre Director for Yorkshire and the Humber, 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.
“This is why a number of drop-ins have been set up across Wakefield – to make it as easy as possible for people to find out if they are one of the 30,000 people currently undiagnosed with high blood pressure in the area.
“By working closely with community groups and organisations we hope to reduce premature deaths by raising detection of high blood pressure and educating everyone on the steps they can take to control their blood pressure.”
There are a number of steps people can take to help manage their blood pressure, including losing weight, exercising regularly, cutting down on salt and eating a healthy diet.
Councillor Janet Holmes, Mayor of Wakefield, is backing the campaign that is close to her heart: “I am so pleased that Public Health England’s first-ever blood pressure campaign is being piloted in Wakefield and the community is really getting behind it.
“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.
“It’s a painless, five-minute test that will be widely available across the whole of Wakefield over the coming four weeks. If high blood pressure is identified, there are treatments available, but time really is of the essence. If left untreated, your risk of a heart attack or stroke increases.”