A local Imam has given his full support to a pilot campaign in Wakefield to identify people with undiagnosed high blood pressure.

Last month, the Public Health England joined local businesses, pharmacies and public services to launch a new campaign, which will encourage people aged 40 and over to visit one of over 50 blood pressure drop-ins set up across the area.

Mr Islam Ali Shah, Wakefield Central Jamia Masjid who has backed the campaign said that he was delighted to see this service offered locally in Wakefield.

SUPPORT: Imam Islam Ali Shah of the Wakefield Jamia Masjid says he backs the high blood pressure awareness campaign
SUPPORT: Imam Islam Ali Shah of the Wakefield Jamia Masjid says he backs the high blood pressure awareness campaign

He commented: “As so many South Asians are at risk of high blood pressure this is a great opportunity for them to go and get tested for free.

“I urge everyone to take advantage of the services out there and get themselves tested and if they’ve missed the drop-in centre, you can always go to your GP.’

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.

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.”