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Millions at risk from 'silent killer'

People across the UK are being urged to get their blood pressure tested, in a joint effort between The Stroke Association and Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, to avoid becoming a statistic of the UK's third biggest killer. The call comes as it is estimated that nearly a quarter of people in the UK are unknowingly suffering from undiagnosed high blood pressure - the single biggest risk factor for stroke.

Working in partnership, Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland (RIBI) and The Stroke Association are hosting a series of testing days across the country on April 18. Testing days will offer free blood pressure checks, and advice on stroke and its prevention to people of all ages. Stroke does not discriminate and can happen to anyone at any time.

Joe Korner, Director of Communications at The Stroke Association, said:
"There is no doubt that blood pressure testing really can save lives. Every five minutes someone in the UK has a stroke - that's 150,000 every year. But over 40% of those strokes could be prevented by the control of high blood pressure. Many people have no idea that they have high blood pressure and that their risk of having a stroke is massively increased. High blood pressure can be reduced through medication and controlled by changes in diet and lifestyle. Take action, get tested and change your lifestyle - you may prevent a stroke."

Ian Thomson, President of Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, said:
"Rotary Club members throughout Great Britain and Ireland recognise that stroke is a silent killer and more awareness is needed. Through our partnership with The Stroke Association and hosting these blood pressure checks across the UK and Ireland for the past eight years, we know we help prevent thousands of people suffering the disabling and often fatal consequences of a stroke."

Andrew Lansley MP and Shadow Health Secretary commented:
"People lead busy lives but getting your blood pressure checked, either by your GP or at a Stroke Association/RIBI testing day near you is quick, simple and could change your life for the better. An estimated 150,000 people have a stroke each year with a quarter happening to those under 65 so monitoring blood pressure is absolutely vital."

High blood pressure is referred to as a ‘silent killer' for good reason. Around 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure with many more unaware they have the condition. Most people can be treated effectively and benefit greatly by making small but significant lifestyle changes. As a result of last year's Rotary Stroke and Health Awareness campaign 13,000 people had their blood pressure taken and 1,200 were referred on to their GP.

A discount period on blood pressure testing products at www.strokeshop.org.uk runs until the end of May to coincide with the Rotary Stroke and Health Awareness campaign. Customers can use the promotion code BP2009 to gain a 10% discount.


07/04/09

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