NHS GLOUCESTERSHIRE is urging anyone over 40 to get free blood pressure checks in response to World Hypertension Day this Friday (May 17). 

The service, alongside Gloucestershire’s pharmacies, wants to reinforce the importance of having regular blood pressure checks for people over 40, in connection with this year’s theme. 

The theme of the awareness day is to “Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer”, which aims to get people to think about how accurate blood pressure readings can help to reduce their risk of stroke, cardiovascular disease and kidney disease.

Sian Williams, Clinical Pharmacy Lead at NHS Gloucestershire, said: “Being aware of stats like your blood pressure is really important as it can help you to prevent conditions like heart attacks and strokes.

“Your local community pharmacy can help you to understand your stats – they are experts at taking accurate blood pressure readings.

“Having a blood pressure check is quick and non-invasive, and you don’t need to book in advance – just pop in to your local pharmacy and they will be happy to help.

“If necessary, your pharmacist will signpost you to the appropriate health service, and they can also offer advice about lifestyle changes which could help manage high blood pressure, such as stopping smoking, improving diet or increasing exercise.”

Dr Graham Mennie, GP and Chair of the Circulatory Clinical Programme Group at NHS Gloucestershire, said:

“High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke. Around one in three adults have high blood pressure, but many don’t realise this because they often don’t have any symptoms.

“Please don’t put off having a blood pressure check just because you don’t feel unhealthy or stressed. 

“It is important to take the time to find out your blood pressure numbers and start making healthy lifestyle changes or taking medicines if you need them to help bring your blood pressure down.”

More details of how to check your blood pressure numbers can be found on the NHS website. However, the NHS reminds you not to use the tool as a way to diagnose symptoms.