Date: 11 May 2022
Australians are being urged to get a blood pressure check at their local pharmacy this month as the key step in reducing their risk of stroke.
High blood pressure, or hypertension, is the greatest modifiable risk factor for stroke. A quick and painless blood pressure check can be all it takes for someone to change their lifestyle and reduce their stroke risk.
Each May, Stroke Foundation promotes the importance of blood pressure checking as part of Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check campaign. It coincides with World Hypertension Day on May 17.
Stroke Foundation Chief Executive Officer Sharon McGowan says high blood pressure often goes undiagnosed as it has no immediate symptoms. Over time it puts extra stress on blood vessel walls and can cause them to narrow or break down, eventually leading to a stroke.
A staggering 4.7 million Australians are living with uncontrolled high blood pressure, and many do not realise it. A normal blood pressure measurement is described as around 120 over 80mmHg. A measurement of 140 over 90mmHg is regarded as high blood pressure and puts you at increased risk of stroke, no matter what your age.
“In my first year as CEO of Stroke Foundation, by participating in Australia’s biggest blood pressure check campaign, I discovered that I had high blood pressure. Thanks to our very own awareness campaign, my blood pressure is now controlled but it could have been a very different outcome,’ Ms McGowan said.
“If there is one thing that we have learned during the COVID-19 pandemic, it is that people are keen and able to manage their risk of exposure to illness. We want to apply that mindset to stroke prevention. When 80 per cent of all strokes are preventable, why would you not want to know your risk?”
Pharmacy Guild of Australia’s National President Trent Twomey says community pharmacies are the most accessible health professionals, so it is easy for people to get a blood pressure check.
“Most pharmacies provide this service because we recognise just how important keeping an eye on your blood pressure is,” Professor Twomey said.
“A blood pressure check can give an early warning of the dangers of a stroke. I recommend people go to the Find a Pharmacy website where they can find a pharmacy near them which provides blood pressure monitoring services.”
More information on the link between high blood pressure and strokes can be found at the Stroke Foundation website.
The Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check awareness month is supported by Major Partner, RossMax Australia, and Awareness Partners AusActive, MedAdvisor, and Pharmacy Guild of Australia.
Contact: The Guild