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Get your blood pressure checked at local pharmacy: Millions at risk from ‘silent killer’, warns NHS

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Community pharmacies are expected to conduct 2.5 million more blood pressure checks as part of the Pharmacy First programme.    

The National Health Service (NHS) on Monday launched a new national campaign to find the ‘missing millions’ who could be living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, often described as a ‘silent killer’.

People are being warned that the condition rarely has any symptoms and it can lead to fatal heart attacks, strokes, kidney disease and vascular dementia, if left untreated.

According to the NHS, high blood pressure affects an estimated 32 per cent of adults and approximately three in 10 of these remain undiagnosed, equating to 4.2 million people in England.

The NHS has expanded blood pressure checks in community pharmacies to include 2.5 million more tests as part of the Pharmacy First programme.

With the ‘Get Your Blood Pressure Checked’ campaign, the health service is encouraging those aged 40 years and over to get a free blood pressure test at a participating pharmacy, for which they don’t need to be booked in advance.

Health Minister Andrea Leadsom expressed confidence that this new drive will help to prevent the potentially “fatal consequences” of untreated high blood pressure. She urged people to go to their local pharmacy to get their blood pressure checked, stating that it could be a “lifesaving trip.”

The campaign comes as new NHS survey data revealed widespread misconceptions about the condition among those at risk. Most high blood pressure cases are asymptomatic, but only 7 per cent of those surveyed thought the condition has no symptoms. The survey also revealed 17 per cent of respondents has refrained from undergoing a blood pressure check because they don’t feel unhealthy or stressed.

The campaign is backed by British Heart Foundation, Stroke Association, Heart Research UK, Blood Pressure UK, May Measurement Month, British Society for Heart Failure, and more.

High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for cardiovascular disease (CVD), which causes one in four deaths in England.

 

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