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More action to prevent heart attacks and strokes urged

17 Oct 2022
Stormont 2

Leading local health charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS) was at Stormont today (Monday) to urge more action to prevent people experiencing heart attacks and strokes.

“One in two heart attacks and strokes are linked to high blood pressure but there are rarely any symptoms, so it is important that people make the effort to get checked – especially as they get older.”

Neil Johnston, Public Affairs and Policy Manager for the charity was speaking after meeting a cross party group of Assembly Members at Parliament Buildings.

“There are over 280,000 people in Northern Ireland who know they have high blood pressure and hopefully they are being treated accordingly. It is estimated, however, that there are another 140,000 people who have high blood pressure but who are unaware they have the condition.”

“These people are at much greater risk of heart attack or stroke. When you consider that 6 out of 10 strokes could be prevented by managing high blood pressure and leading a healthy lifestyle it is obvious that we need to do more to detect people with high blood pressure.”

NICHS is urging people, especially those over 45, to make sure they have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.

“Many people are investing in their own blood pressure monitoring kits and the message is clear; if your reading is consistently over 140/90 you should seek help from your GP.”

“We would encourage people to visit their GP or participating pharmacy to get checked and we are asking government to increase resources for preventive work like this.”

NICHS carries out thousands of health checks every year in businesses and in the community, which include blood pressure checking, and they have noticed an increase in demand for checks.

“We are a charity – almost 90% of our funding comes from the public in Northern Ireland – and we are dedicated to tackling these issues, but there is a limit to our capacity and currently all our health checks are booked out until the New Year.”

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For further information or to arrange an interview, please contact Neil Johnston on 07971 256671.