Commissioners in east Berkshire are raising awareness of hypertension as part of their campaign to prevent, detect and treat heart conditions.
This coincides with World Hypertension Day today (19/5) which aims to promote public awareness of hypertension and to encourage people nationwide to prevent and control this silent killer, the modern epidemic.
High blood pressure – known as hypertension – rarely has noticeable symptoms and if left untreated increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure.
More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, but may not realise it.
High blood pressure is any reading of 140/90mmHg or more.
Persistently high blood pressure can damage your arteries, put extra strain on the heart muscle and increase your chances of heart attack or stroke.
According to the British Heart Foundation, up to seven million people in the UK have undiagnosed high blood pressure.
Unfortunately, very often the first time people find out they have it is when they are admitted to hospital after a stroke or heart problem.
The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked by a health professional, such as your GP or local pharmacist. You can also buy home testing kits. Click here to view a British Heart Foundation video about how to measure your blood pressure at home.
Dr Anant Sachdev, one of the cardiology clinical leads for the East Berkshire Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs), said: “We know there are thousands of people across Bracknell and Ascot, Slough, Windsor and Maidenhead, who have undiagnosed hypertension. Our aim is to diagnosis more people so we can treat them and avoid complications such as stroke – one of the most debilitating and soul-destroying illnesses for many patients and families.
“Current guidelines say we should all have our blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
“If you have high blood pressure, or it is close to 140/90mmHg, you should have it checked more regularly. Your GP or nurse will be able to tell you how often.
He added: “While we don’t know the cause of high blood pressure, we do know our lifestyles can have an impact, including obesity, lack of exercise and drinking too much alcohol. In a very small number of people, there is a specific cause (known as ‘secondary hypertension’). Some people may be taking medication or have a hormonal problem that causes high blood pressure.
“Certain ethnic groups are more prone to developing it – for example, African-Caribbean communities. We think they are more sensitive to salt. African-Caribbean people also appear to be more at risk of severe hypertension than other ethnic groups.”
CCG Population Numbers with hypertension Diagnosed
|CCG||Population||Numbers with hypertension||Diagnosed|
|Bracknell and Ascot||137,655||30,100 (22%)||15,800 (11%)|
|Slough||146,550||29,300 (20%)||16,400 (11%)|
|Windsor, Ascot and Maidenhead||152,318||35,200 (23%)||17,300 (11%)|