Millions of people in Britain do not realise they have high blood pressure, a charity claims.
The Blood Pressure Association (BPA) said more than five million adults are unaware they have the problem.
But research shows that if all these people were detected and treated, 8,000 deaths from strokes and 13,000 deaths from heart attacks could be avoided.
This equates to a 40% reduction in stroke fatalities, and a 30% reduction in heart attack deaths.
The BPA is now urging every adult to get checked as it launched the nation's biggest blood pressure testing event.
At least 2,750 venues, including pharmacies, GP surgeries, shopping centres, and community venues are offering free blood pressure checks, and more than 250,000 people are expected to take part.
Professor Graham MacGregor, chairman of the BPA, said: "Raised blood pressure is the biggest cause of death in the UK through the strokes, heart attacks and heart failure it causes.
"For those who are unaware of their high blood pressure, the consequences can be devastating.
"We need to find these missing millions as high blood pressure can easily be treated with lifestyle changes and, if necessary, tablets prescribed by a GP."
Blood Pressure Association
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