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Preventing or keeping high blood pressure under control can save thousands of lives

NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is encouraging residents to look after their heart and check their blood pressure as part of ‘Know Your Numbers’ week. The yearly campaign launched by charity Blood Pressure UK aims to raise awareness of the importance to control high blood pressure.

Look after your heart

High blood pressure (hypertension) is common, affecting more than one in four adults in England and can lead to heart attacks and strokes. It often has no symptoms, but when found, is one of the most preventable causes of early death.

Dr Pravin Jayakumar, GP and Clinical Lead for Wakefield Healthy Hearts, NHS Wakefield CCG, said: “If your blood pressure is above 140/90 when it is measured, you may have high blood pressure. It's recommended that all adults over 40 years of age have their blood pressure tested at least every 5 years so any potential problems can be detected early.

As well as GP practices – many pharmacies offer blood pressure checks – and the opportunity to talk to someone about any medications people maybe taking. It’s also important to realise that there are many actions people can take to reduce the risk factors that lead to heart attacks and strokes, such as being overweight, smoking, drinking and having an unhealthy diet. It’s never too late to start looking after your heart and make the kinds of lifestyle changes needed to stay healthy”

Using a simple and reliable blood pressure monitor at home can also help you to find out whether your blood pressure numbers are under control. The readings are often more reliable than getting it checked at a hospital clinic or at your GP practice, as people tend to be more relaxed in their own surroundings. There are helpful tips about how to check your blood pressure at home on West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts website (WYH Healthy Hearts), along with advice on understanding the readings.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate Healthy Hearts is an initiative delivered by Yorkshire & Humber Academic Health Science Network (AHSN) working in partnership with West Yorkshire and Harrogate Health and Care Partnership and NHS Wakefield Clinical Commissioning Group.

The initiative aims to help reduce the impact of cardiovascular disease and prevent the number of heart attacks and strokes across the Wakefield area.

Dr Youssef Beaini, Clinical Lead for WYH Healthy Hearts, commented: “We have been working with local GPs, pharmacies and third sector organisations to help identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure and improve their treatment. We are really encouraged by the results we are seeing and that is all down to the hard work of GPs and nurses on the front line.

“By working closely with our colleagues across primary care and secondary care, we are able to share best practice and adopt the latest advice and treatment guidance to help save more lives. A centralised approach reduces variation and improves outcomes for patients. Cardiovascular disease is still one of the biggest causes of death and disabilities in the UK, but early detection and treatment can help people live longer, healthier lives”.

For more information visit www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk and follow @WYHHealthyHeart on Twitter.

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