4million under-65s have high blood pressure but don’t know it
MILLIONS of people are at risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke – but have no idea of the danger, experts have warned.
Four million people under the age of 65 are believed to be living with untreated high blood pressure, said the British Heart Foundation.
This includes 1.3million under the age of 45. The charity described the condition as a ‘ticking timebomb’ and urged people to get blood pressure checked.
High blood pressure affects around one in three adults – more than 14million people. Of those, around nine million have been diagnosed by their GP.
The undiagnosed – and therefore untreated – sufferers total five million comprising four million under 65 and a million over this age.
Often referred to as a silent killer, high blood pressure is not usually accompanied by symptoms so many sufferers are unaware they have it. If untreated, it can significantly raise the risk of heart attack and stroke – and is also linked with an increased risk of vascular dementia. Some 62,000 people die each year from heart attacks and strokes due to poor blood pressure control. However, the condition can be easily treated by a combination of lifestyle changes and medication.
The BHF is urging people to have their blood pressure tested at a GP surgery or pharmacy – or one of its outreach programmes in football stadiums, train stations and shops. Simon Gillespie, of the BHF, said: ‘Getting your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
‘These figures show that millions of adults of all ages are living with untreated high blood pressure – a ticking timebomb that puts their future health in jeopardy. Having blood pressure checked takes less than five minutes, but it is all too easy to put it on the back-burner in our hectic day-to-day lives.
‘We’re urging everyone to take a moment this month and get their pressure checked – it could ultimately save your life.’
The causes of high blood pressure include obesity, lack of exercise, too much salt, alcohol and smoking in addition to family background and age. The charity believes reaching people outside the traditional route of hospitals and GP surgeries is key to improving public awareness.
Professor Jamie Waterall, of Public Health England, said: ‘High blood pressure is the country’s leading cause of heart attacks and strokes. Diagnosing it earlier and managing it in line with guidance will save thousands of lives.’
‘Silent killer with no symptoms’