4mil­lion un­der-65s have high blood pres­sure but don’t know it

Daily Mail - - News - By Kate Pick­les Health Correspond­ent

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’

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