One in three referred to GP over ‘silent killer’ after South Shields store health check

Optical assistant Brenda Pingle, left, looks on as Elsa Dorothy has her blood pressure taken by Danielle Cottrell.
Optical assistant Brenda Pingle, left, looks on as Elsa Dorothy has her blood pressure taken by Danielle Cottrell.
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One-in-three people in South Tyneside who signed up for a health check scheme were referred to their doctor for high blood pressure.

Charity chiefs have issued a warning over the danger posed by a “silent killer” after seven out of 20 people tested as part of an awareness initiative, held at the Vision Express branch, in King Street, South Shields, were given a follow-up appointment with their GP after recording higher-than-expected levels of blood pressure.

It’s vita that everyone knows what their blood pressure should be and gets it checked.

Jon Barrick, Stroke Association

High blood pressure can lead to a series of conditions – including stroke, heart failure, kidney damage and sight problems – and affects more than nine million in the UK, with another 6.8m thought to be living with it undiagnosed.

New research from the Stroke Association has revealed a fifth of men have never had a blood pressure test and that more than half are unaware of what their blood pressure should be.

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but contributing factors include drinking too much alcohol, smoking and not exercising enough.

The Vision Express Know Your Blood Pressure event was hosted by Danielle Cottrell, community development and partnerships officer at the Stroke Association, and Nigel Rickaby, family and carer support coordinator at the charity.

Vision Express store manager Hollie Richardson said: “Many people incorrectly believe there are recognisable symptoms of high blood pressure.

“That just isn’t the case and this initiative has been a great way to share vital information about the condition and its risk factors with the local community.”

Jon Barrick, chief executive of the Stroke Association, said: “High blood pressure is a silent killer, but a simple and painless test could prevent a devastating stroke. It’s vital that everyone knows what their blood pressure should be and gets it checked.”

Coun Moira Smith, lead member for public health at South Tyneside, said: “Smoking, drinking to excess and unhealthy lifestyles can have an impact on high blood pressure. Through the Change4Life South Tyneside programme, the council is committed to promoting healthy lifestyles among our residents.”