With World Hypertension Day having taken place on 17th of May it has brought to the fore the importance of preventative measures we can all take to reduce our chances of stroke and heart disease. It was timely, therefore, that Local MSP Maree Todd SNP brought a debate to the Scottish Parliament this week to mark World Hypertension Awareness Month.
The International Society of Hypertension is running May measure month. It is thought that 30% of Adults in Scotland have high blood pressure. In the Highlands & Islands alone, 70,860 people are living with the condition.
Commenting, BHF Scotland Director James Cant explained the condition and the importance of raising awareness;
“People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke as well as having an increased the risk of conditions such as renal failure and dementia. Often, it is referred to as ‘the silent killer’ because people often do not have any symptoms.”
“This condition is often preventable and increasing public awareness and ensuring equitable access to early detection and appropriate treatment is important”.
Commenting on the debate, Maree Todd MSP said;
“It was because of my role on the cross-party group [on heart disease and stroke] that I was keen to bring a debate about hypertension to the chamber, to highlight not only the condition but the great work of Professor Rhian Touyz and the British Heart Foundation in researching and tackling what is known as the silent killer.”
“A particular challenge with high blood pressure is that folk do not feel ill. That is why it is called the silent killer—a person does not know that they have it until they get their blood pressure checked, and they feel the effect of it only after some damage has been caused to target organs.”
“Hypertension can be prevented. Even a small decrease in blood pressure—say, 2/4 millimetres of mercury—at the population level could significantly reduce the prevalence of stroke and heart disease. Therefore, increasing public awareness is crucial, as is access to early detection and appropriate treatment.”
Maree Todd MSP said
“I remind everyone that this common condition can be diagnosed with a simple test, and it is easy to treat. I encourage everyone to take the opportunity this month to know their numbers”.
James Cant, BHF Director at BHF added;
“People can help reduce their risk of hypertension if they maintain a healthy weight, take regular exercise, cut down on alcohol and reduce salt in their diet. It’s important to ‘know your numbers’ and get your blood pressure checked, either at a GP or in a local pharmacy. “
“The BHF is currently funding around £21m into research into hypertension, including work carried out by Professor Rhian Touyz, the BHF Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine at the BHF Glasgow Cardiovascular Research Centre, University of Glasgow.’’