11 September 2015
By David O’Sullivan
Often silent and symptomless, the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF) warned that half a million adults in Ireland don’t know they have high blood pressure and run the risk of a life threatening event such as heart attack or stroke unless they get it checked. The warning came as the organisation announced details of its National Blood Pressure Roadshow, which is being rolled out across the country thanks to the support of Medtronic, the global leader in medical technology.
According to the national charity fighting heart disease and stroke, many adults react to health symptoms such as flu, back ache or toothache. But when it comes to high blood pressure which is known as the ‘silent killer’ because it can cause serious internal damage to arteries, heart and kidneys without a person’s knowledge, it often fails to get any attention.
This September there will be two Free blood pressure checks to the people of Cork, to promote early detection of this silent condition on:
- 25 September, 10am-6pm at Douglas Court Shopping Centre.
- 26 September, 10am-6pm at Blackpool Shopping Centre.
Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director with the Irish Heart Foundation said: “While most people have heard of high blood pressure, many still don’t understand the importance of having it checked. Right now in Ireland close to one million adults have the condition but half of them don’t know it.
“Silent and invisible, high blood pressure can seriously damage blood vessels and the heart if left unchecked. People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack compared to those with healthy or controlled blood pressure.
“The good news is that a simple five-minute check is all it takes to detect high blood pressure, which can then be effectively managed through lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, being active and consuming less salt, fatty foods and alcohol. In some cases doctors will recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to manage blood pressure and protect against strokes.”
Donal Balfe, Vice President of Manufacturing, Medtronic, said: “Life can be hectic and often, it is easy to push our health to the bottom of our list of priorities. But being aware of our blood pressure and keeping it at a healthy level is too important to ignore. That is why Medtronic has partnered with the Irish Heart Foundation to bring free blood pressure checks to as many people as possible around the country this September and October. This is our third year supporting the Roadshow and we hope that by encouraging more people to become aware of their blood pressure, we can help them live longer, healthier lives.”
By 2020, the Institute of Public Health predicts the number of adults aged over 45 years with high blood pressure in Ireland is expected to rise from 950,000 to 1.2 million adults, representing a 28% increase.
Who should visit the National Blood Pressure Roadshow?
Anyone from the age of 30 is recommended to have a blood pressure check at least once a year or more regularly if there are medical concerns.
Unhealthy behaviours that often lead to high blood pressure include:
- consuming foods high in salt
- being physically inactive
- being overweight or obese
- drinking too much alcohol
- For a free blood pressure leaflet or general health advice, talk to an Irish Heart Foundation nurse in confidence on the National Heart & Stroke Helpline Locall 1890 432 787, Monday to Friday.