One in four of us in the North East has high blood pressure

Kristy Dawson pictured having her blood pressure checked by Tona Okpara at Tulloch's Pharmacy in Pennywell, Sunderland...
Kristy Dawson pictured having her blood pressure checked by Tona Okpara at Tulloch's Pharmacy in Pennywell, Sunderland...
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A QUARTER of people tested in the North East have high blood pressure, a new survey reveals today.

Figures released by the Blood Pressure Association (BPA) also revealed that 70 per cent in the region of people do not know their blood pressure reading.

“High blood pressure is the biggest cause of strokes and heart attacks in the UK,” said BPA chief executive Paul Newman,

“An estimated 16million people have high blood pressure and because it usually has no symptoms, there are currently around five million people with high blood pressure living their lives completely ignorant of the fact they have it.

“The first thing they might know about it is when they have a stroke or a heart attack.

“The only way you can know if you have high blood pressure is by having a simple, free, painless blood pressure check.”

As part of the BPA’s Know Your Numbers week, free blood pressure tests are being offered in more than 1,500 venues across the UK.

In Sunderland they include pharmacies Tulloch’s in Pennywell Shopping Centre, Demnox in Doxford Park and Farringdon, McCarthy’s in Hendon and Asda’s in-store chemists.

Tona Okpara, pharmacist manager at Tulloch’s, said: “Having a blood pressure week is great as it could potentially save lives.

“It is important to get your blood pressure checked as high blood pressure can damage organs such as the liver and kidneys and can cause a stroke or a haemorrhage.

“Blood pressure must be checked over a period of time. Recently we have had some people with extremely high blood pressure which we have had to send to their doctor.

“It is easy to tell with low blood pressure as you can feel light-headed, but with high blood pressure you don’t know anything is wrong with you until you suffer a stroke.”

Ways to get healthy

A HEALTHY blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less.

If readings are constantly at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed.

To ensure a healthy blood pressure:

1. Cut down on salt;

2. Exercise regularly - 30 minutes five times a week;

3. Watch your weight;

4. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables - at least five different portions every day.