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NHS asks over 40s to come forward for free blood pressure checks





Millions of people in England are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, warns the NHS, which can prove to be a ‘silent killer’ if left untreated.

People in the county aged 40 and over are being asked to come forward for a free blood pressure check after an expansion in the number of community pharmacies able to offer tests.

People over 40 are being asked to come forward for a test. Image: iStock/Supitnan Pimpisarn.
People over 40 are being asked to come forward for a test. Image: iStock/Supitnan Pimpisarn.

The plea coincides with a national campaign by health officials being launched this week to find the ‘missing millions’ in England unknowingly living with the condition, that often has no symptoms.

High blood pressure affects an estimated 32% of all adults however approximately three in 10 remain undiagnosed - equating to around four million people across the country.

Alongside their GP, people can get a check at their pharmacy. Image: iStock.
Alongside their GP, people can get a check at their pharmacy. Image: iStock.

Left untreated, it can lead to heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and vascular dementia. But with often no clues as to who could be at risk the only way to know is to take a simple blood pressure test.

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The procedure is quick, non-invasive and patients don’t need to book an appointment in advance.

Millions more appointments at pharmacists are now available. Image: iStock.
Millions more appointments at pharmacists are now available. Image: iStock.

Helen Williams from NHS England said: “It can be easy to dismiss the risks of stroke and heart attack associated with high blood pressure, especially as it often has no signs or symptoms so I would encourage everyone over the age 40 to know their blood pressure numbers.

“With thousands of pharmacies now offering free blood pressure checks with healthy living advice, it’s a quick, easy and convenient way to keep on top of your cardiovascular health at a time and place that suits you.”

To find your nearest pharmacy offering free blood pressure checks click here.

Alongside lifestyle changes, high blood pressure can be treated with medication. Image: iStock.
Alongside lifestyle changes, high blood pressure can be treated with medication. Image: iStock.

Patients, say the NHS, should have a check at least once every five years but are eligible for a free check at any time as long as they have not been diagnosed with high blood pressure or had a check in the last 6 months.

Treating the condition, says the British Heart Foundation on its website, can include lifestyle changes such as less alcohol, being more active and losing weight alongside various types of medication that would be prescribed by a GP.



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