'Know Your Blood Pressure' Day

Sat 18th April 2015 at 10.00 - 16.00

We offered free blood pressure checks to the public in The Galleries, Washington. This is to help people understand the link between high blood pressure and strokes and how to reduce the risk. Photo: Rotarians Rob Blair and Dr Mathew Thomas

Dr Mathew Thomas with Rob Blair
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In a bid to help reduce incidents of stroke, the Rotary Club of Washington Forge supported the Stroke Association by offering free blood pressure testing to shoppers in Washington on Saturday 18th April 2015.

High blood pressure remains the single biggest risk factor for stroke, contributing to over half (54%) of strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. Know Your Blood Pressure day on 18 April is about raising awareness of the link between high blood pressure and stroke. Between 10.00am and 4.00pm shoppers in The Galleries, Washington, could get their blood pressure checked by qualified medical staff, and receive information and advice on steps to keep it under control.

In 2014, Rotary in Great Britain & Ireland and the Stroke Association organised over 400 events across the UK. In the same year, Rotary was honoured with a Special Recognition Award by the Stroke Association for their long-term support of the Know Your Blood Pressure campaign. Dr James Logan, Channel 4s own TV Doctor, presented the Life After Stroke Award to Rotary GB&I at a prestigious awards ceremony hosted by Baroness Karren Brady.

Philip Hopps of Washington Forge Rotary Club said: Rotarys long term support for the Know Your Blood Pressure campaign has reached hundreds of thousands of people in the last decade, potentially saving many lives. The ideal blood pressure is 120/80 but we know a significant number of people have readings above that and a quarter have dangerously high blood pressure with readings over 140/90.  These events can play a big role in reducing strokes across the country. Its clear that high blood pressure is far more common than you would think.

Laura McGuinness, who leads on stroke prevention at the Stroke Association said: High blood pressure is often referred to as the silent killer because it doesnt present symptoms and many people have no idea their health may be at risk. Over 9 million people in the UK are currently registered with high blood pressure but estimates suggest there could be up to almost 7 million people who are currently undiagnosed and at risk.

Getting your blood pressure checked is easy and quick. We hope to see people in Washington take advantage of these checks; its a simple way to reducing your risk of having a stroke.

In addition to the events taking place on 18 April, are blood pressure checks at community events throughout the year. To find your nearest blood pressure event, you can visit www.stroke.org.uk/kybp.

Event Report

66 persons had their blood pressure checked during the event. 23 were advised to arrange a routine follow-up with their own GP within a month, whilst 4 people were recommended to see their GP within a week.

This was a very worthwhile initiative with a number of people praising Rotary for supporting the Stroke Association in raising awareness of the condition and offering advice.

Thank you to Dr Mathew Thomas and Dr Alex Milne for carrying out the actual checks, and to those members of the Club who assisted. We also appreciate the support and assistance from the management and staff at The Galleries in Washington.


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