CARDIOLOGY AND VASCULAR
Adults urged to get blood pressure checked
New campaign from Irish Heart Foundation
May 22, 2023
A new campaign which aims to raise awareness of the link between high blood pressure and heart disease and stroke has been launched by the Irish Heart Foundation (IHF).
High blood pressure affects two-thirds of people over the age of 50, however, as it does not produce symptoms, half of those affected do not know they have it.
The ‘Before Damage is Done’ campaign encourages adults, especially those over the age of 50, to have their blood pressure checked by their GP or pharmacist.
According to IHF medical director, Dr Angie Brown, high blood pressure can be successfully managed, “but only if people know they have it”.
“Medication may be needed in addition to lifestyle changes such as increasing physical activity, quitting smoking and embracing a balanced diet which limits salt intake. These changes can have a huge impact,” she noted.
Lynda Sutton (59) from Donabate in Dublin discovered she had severely high blood pressure after the driver of the IHF mobile health unit parked near her local library in March and encouraged her to get a free heart health check.
She was advised to attend her GP who put her on medication.
“I told him I didn’t have stress or anxiety, I ate healthily and exercised with spin classes in the mornings. There is no high blood pressure in my family that I know of.
“I thought I was invincible, but really, I could have been a ticking time bomb. I thought I was healthy before, but I have completely changed my diet. I’m eating plenty of fruit and veg and no salt,” Ms Sutton said.
Previous research has shown that Ireland has one of the lowest rates of awareness, treatment and control of high blood pressure among 12 high-income countries. Furthermore, there is a lack of awareness about the link between high blood pressure and other conditions such as dementia and kidney disease.
The campaign is supported by the Irish College of General Practitioners, the Irish Pharmacy Union and Pfizer.