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Millions at risk from "silent killer"

The Stroke Association urges the public to get their blood pressure tested and avoid being a statistic of the UK's third biggest killer. The call comes as the charity reveals figures that show nearly a quarter of people in the UK are unknowingly suffering from undiagnosed high blood pressure - the single biggest risk factor for stroke.
The figures also reveal that this risk varies greatly across the country. The South West of England came top with nearly 30% of those tested unaware that they had high blood pressure, closely followed by East Anglia and the Home Counties. At the bottom of the table and well below national average, 17.8% of those tested in the North East were living with the "silent killer".
Working in partnership with Rotary International Great Britain and Northern Ireland (RIBI), The Stroke Association is launching a blood pressure campaign with a series of testing days across the country. Testing days will offer free blood pressure checks, and advice on stroke and its prevention to people of all ages. Stroke does not discriminate and can happen to anyone at any time.
Joe Korner, Director of The Stroke Association said: "Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke - that's 150,000 every year. But over 40% of those strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure.

"We also know that many thousands of people are completely unaware of their own blood pressure levels. Many of those people have no idea that they have high blood pressure and that their risk of having a stroke is massively increased. High blood pressure can be reduced through medication and controlled by changes in diet and lifestyle. Take action, get tested and change your lifestyle - you may prevent a stroke."

Dr. Thomson Robertson, Director of Trent Stoke Research Network at Leicester University Hospitals Trust, commented: "High blood pressure is the most important modifiable risk factor for the prevention of first-ever and recurrent stroke. High blood pressure can be reduced by the taking of tablets, but also by altering lifestyle factors that we are all able to do ourselves - diet, weight, exercise, smoking and alcohol. Of course, to do this, we all need to know our blood pressure - ask yourself 'do you know yours?' - if not, get it checked - today!"
High blood pressure is referred to as a "silent killer" for good reason. 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure with many more unaware they have the condition. Most people can be treated effectively and benefit greatly by making small but significant lifestyle changes. Cutting down on alcohol, stopping smoking, reducing stress levels and leading a healthier lifestyle can all help lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke.

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"Yes, routine blood pressure checks should be part of all practice nurse consultations." - Elizabeth Carr