Senators brush with silent killer prompts urgent warning

Stroke Foundation

A Federal Victorian Labor Senator is urging people to get their blood pressure checked after a serious health scare.

Senator Raff Ciccone was working at Parliament House in Canberra when he began feeling unwell.

“I was in the Senate chamber in 2022 when I started feeling dizzy and sensed something wasn’t right,” Senator Ciccone said.

“Thankfully, with the help of the nurse at Parliament, I was able to get the help I needed. I had my blood pressure measured, which had reached a dangerously high level.

“I then visited by local GP and was diagnosed with high blood pressure. I’m now taking daily medication to ensure my blood pressure remains within a normal level.”

Senator Ciccone has bravely opened up about his scare with high blood pressure, which is the single biggest risk factor for stroke, just in time for Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check, which runs throughout May, and coincides with World Hypertension Day, on May 17.

According to the Stroke Foundation, one in three people experience high blood pressure. Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure is responsible for 25,000 deaths a year.

Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Dr Lisa Murphy said a quick and painless blood pressure check can be all it takes to reduce your stroke risk.

“We know that only a third of people who have high blood pressure have it under control. High blood pressure is the leading risk factor for death in Australia and the world. It leads to 10.8 million deaths globally, and in Australia, is responsible for 41 per cent of strokes,” Dr Murphy said.

“Reducing high blood pressure by a quarter could save 37,000 lives and return $34.3 billion to the economy.

“You can begin with controlling your blood pressure by changing your diet, exercising regularly and maintaining a health.”  

A normal blood pressure measurement is described as around 120 over 80mmHg. A measurement of 140 over 90mmHg is regarded as high blood pressure and puts you at increased risk of stroke, no matter your age. 

Senator Ciccone is now taking medication and visits his GP regularly for ongoing blood pressure checks.

“There’s a quick and easy way to find out if you are at risk, and this can be done at any GP or pharmacist. I consider myself lucky that I was given a warning sign,” Senator Ciccone said.

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

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