May marks biggest blood pressure check month

Stroke Foundation

Australians are being urged to roll up their sleeves and get their blood pressure check during the month of May.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is the single biggest modifiable risk factor for stroke and affects one in three adults.

The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to have it checked regularly by a pharmacist, at your local GP, or at home using a home blood pressure monitor.

May 17 is World Hypertension Day, which raises awareness of the issues high blood pressure can cause. Stroke Foundation uses the month of May each year to focus on the high blood pressure and encourages all Australians to seek out a free health check, or to see their GP.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy said alarmingly, 4.7 million Australians are living with high blood pressure, and many of those people are unaware.

“High blood pressure has no immediate symptoms, yet over time it puts extra stress on blood vessel walls. This can cause them to narrow or break down, eventually leading to a stroke,” Dr Murphy said.

“A normal blood pressure measurement is less than 120/80mmHg. A measurement of 140/90mmHg is regarded as high blood pressure and puts you at increased risk of stroke, no matter what your age.

“A quick and painless blood pressure check can be all it takes to potentially save a life.”

Stroke Foundation’s report, No Postcode Untouched, found that if high blood pressure alone was eliminated, the number of strokes would almost be cut in half (48 per cent).  

Dr Murphy said having your blood pressure checked was easy, painless and potentially life-saving, but was too often overlooked.  

“You can help control your blood pressure by changing your diet and lifestyle, particularly through regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight,” Dr Murphy said.

“When 80 per cent of all strokes are preventable, why would you not want to know your risk and do something about it?”

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