High blood pressure is the most common long term health condition – and second only to smoking as the highest risk factor in causing death in all ages for the North West of England.
As part of national ‘Know Your Numbers’ week from 10-16 September, organised by Blood Pressure UK, Public Health Liverpool is teaming up with Liverpool Clinical Commissioning Group, the Stroke Association and PSS to raise awareness and encourage people to check their blood pressure.
The initiative is being backed by Ian Collins, 58, who had a stroke in his sleep 11 years ago. He woke up and couldn’t walk or use the right side of his body.
As a result he was forced to leave his job as a joiner, where he was working long hours to support his family.
After being supported by the Stroke Association during his recovery, Ian is now a stroke ambassador and chairs the charity’s Merseyside Life After Stroke Group, supporting many stroke survivors across Merseyside with social activities.
Ian said: “A stroke can be devastating but in many cases can also be preventable, simply by having your blood pressure checked.
“I would encourage everyone to monitor their blood pressure and have regular checks. I was too late getting mine checked out and sadly, went on to have a stroke because of it."
Now he manages his health by taking medication to keep my blood pressure down, and also by cutting back on salt in his diet and trying to drink in moderation.
It is estimated that there are almost 50,000 people in Liverpool at an increased risk of stroke and cardiovascular disease due to undiagnosed high blood pressure.
Over the next few weeks, staff from Public Health Liverpool will be visiting supermarkets and community events, while 18 pharmacies will be offering free blood pressure checks.
Liverpool’s Director of Public Health, Sandra Davies, said:
“High blood pressure is a silent killer and many people just do not know that they are at risk. It can be a ticking time bomb and lead to serious conditions such as a stroke or heart disease, but the good news is that it can easily be treated by improving diet, losing weight and being more active.
“That’s why we’re encouraging people to know their blood pressure numbers, in the same way they know their height and weight, as well as encouraging their family and friends to do the same.”
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