Half a million people in South East England are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, new estimates show

Half a million people in South East England are living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, new estimates show

May 3, 2019

Community Pharmacy Sussex and Surrey is supporting BHF to urge people to get their blood pressure checked this May Measurement Month

Up to 500,000 people in South East England are unaware they are living with high blood pressure, according to new estimates from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).[i]

If untreated, high blood pressure can significantly raise the risk of heart attack and stroke. It’s also associated with an increased risk of vascular dementia.

High blood pressure, often referred to as a silent killer, does not usually have any symptoms, meaning that many people are unaware they are living with one of the risk factors most commonly associated with heart attacks and strokes.

However, if detected the condition can be easily treated by a combination of simple lifestyle changes and medication, depending on the individual.

The BHF is urging people to get their blood pressure tested, whether at home, in a pharmacy, or a GP surgery. The charity is supporting May Measurement Month (MMM), a global research initiative, now in its third year, which aims to improve public awareness of high blood pressure.

The BHF is currently funding £1.5m worth of community projects across the country which aim  to reach and test people who are most at-risk of high blood pressure in everyday settings such as train stations, barber shops and football grounds, or through existing initiatives such as the Fire & Rescue Service safe and well programme.

People in Surrey can access checks at a number of local pharmacies, via a programme run by the Surrey Heartlands integrated care system (ICS) in conjunction with Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex. 196 checks have taken place across Surrey Heartlands in the first month of the programme, resulting in around 50 abnormal blood pressure readings.

Information about where the checks are available can be found at BHF charity shops in Guildford, Woking, Staines and Epsom, as well as via the Healthy Surrey website.

The BHF also has a partnership with Rowlands Pharmacies across the country, where people can drop in any time to have their blood pressure taken.

James Wood, Chief Executive Officer, Community Pharmacy Surrey and Sussex: “This new service is already increasing detection of hypertension and helps not only to identify people who may develop high blood pressure in the future but, importantly, give members of the public the right support and advice to manage any potential risk.

“Working with Surrey Heartlands ICS, we want to ensure that citizens are well informed and confident about reducing their risk of heart attack and stroke, by being able to take steps themselves and where appropriate, involve the right health care professional”.

Dr Mike Hickman: Consultant Cardiologist and Surrey Heartlands Cardiovascular Disease Clinical Lead said:

“Only six out of every ten people who have high blood pressure in Surrey Heartlands have been diagnosed, leaving more than 80,000 people potentially unaware they have a condition that significantly increases their risk of heart attack or stroke.”

“To help support earlier diagnosis, we are working in partnership with Community Pharmacy Surrey & Sussex to provide the BP+ service in pharmacies across parts of Surrey. Through the service people can drop-in to participating pharmacies for a quick blood pressure check. If high blood pressure is detected, patients are referred to their GP practice, for follow up advice and support to manage their condition. Offering this service in community pharmacies makes it easier and more convenient for local people to access the service and by working with local pharmacies we also hope to reach people who may not have had recent contact with their GP or other healthcare professionals.”

Simon Gillespie, Chief Executive of the British Heart Foundation said:

“Getting your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack a stroke. These figures show that millions of adults of all ages are living with untreated high blood pressure – a ticking time bomb that puts their future health in jeopardy.

“Having your blood pressure checked takes less than five minutes, but it is all too easy to put it on the back burner in our hectic day to day lives. That’s why we’re urging everyone to take a moment this month and get their pressure checked – it could ultimately save your life.”

Professor Francesco Cappuccio, Chair of Cardiovascular Medicine at the University of Warwick, President of the British and Irish Hypertension Society and national coordinator of MMM19 in the UK said:

“Over 10 million people die each year due to conditions related to high blood pressure (hypertension) – such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure – but unless hypertension is detected we cannot treat it to prevent these conditions. Screening is cheap and takes only a few minutes to measure someone’s pressure which if raised can be easily treated. May Measurement Month is an opportunity to raise awareness of the importance of knowing your blood pressure number. Everyone should join in and support this unique initiative”.

Pharmacies in Surrey Heartlands STP BP+ scheme

Name Of Pharmacy Address of Pharmacy BHF Shop
Direct Pharmacy 2-8 Madrid Road, Guildford, GU2 7NT Guildford
Dapdune Pharmacy Wharf Road, Guildford, GU1 4RP
Binscombe Pharmacy 106 Binscombe, Godalming, GU7 3PR
Breakspear Pharmacy 13 Church Road, Ashford, TW15 2UN, Staines
Hive Pharmacy 23 Edinburgh Drive, Laleham, Staines, TW18 1PJ
Sunset Pharmacy 165, High Street Staines, TW18 4PA
May & Thomson 51 Dartmouth Avenue, Woking, GU21 5PE Woking
Bridge Pharmacy 153 Maybury Road, Woking, GU21 5JR,
Horsell Pharmacy 91 High street, Horsell, Woking, GU21 4SY
Nima Pharmacy 58 The Broadway, Stoneleigh, KT17 2HS Epsom
Ruxley Pharmacy 2 Ruxley Lane, Ewell, KT19 0JD
Horton Pharmacy Unit 7 Horton Retail Park, Epsom, KT19 8SP
Pearl Chemist 30 High Street, Banstead, SM7 2LS

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