Australians are being urged to get their blood pressure checked to reduce their risk of stroke.
Each May, Stroke Foundation promotes the importance of blood pressure checking as part of Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check, coinciding with World Hypertension Day on May 17.
Associate Professor Seana Gall, who is part of the Foundation’s clinical council, said that it’s vital to be raising awareness for the condition and the risks that come along with it.
“Blood pressure is one of the strongest, in fact the strongest risk factor for having a stroke,” she said.
“The idea behind Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check is to make people aware of the link between blood pressure and stroke, and to really encourage people to go out and get their blood pressure checked, so they can know their numbers, and get treated if they need to.”
Though she said that things like family history and factors such as weight, age, and salt intake can have an impact on whether someone can develop high blood pressure, Ms Gall said that this isn’t always the case.
“One of the tricky things about high blood pressure is that it’s sort of a silent risk factor,” she said.
“Most people don’t know they have high blood pressure unless they have their blood pressure measured, or they have something like a stroke, and then it’s discovered that they have high blood pressure.”
It’s for this reason that she believes that everyone should be getting their blood pressure checked at least once a year.
Issa Hanna, a pharmacist at MediAdvice Pharmacy Glenmore Park, said that particularly after the stress of the past two years, there’s no better time than now to get your blood pressure checked.
“In the last two years, blood pressure has definitely increased in a lot of our patients, just purely from stress and the inability to get out and exercise the way they used to,” he said.
“For people who are relatively young and healthy, it’s not of the utmost importance, but it’s definitely something to consider, just to see where you’re sitting. It’s something that’s really easy, takes a minute, and your doctor or pharmacist can do it.”
To find a pharmacist near you that offers blood pressure checking, visit findapharmacy.com.au.
Cassidy Pearce is the Weekender’s community news and entertainment journalist.