‘I could have had a heart attack if I hadn’t taken this test’

People in East Sussex are being urged to keep tabs on their blood pressure to live a long and healthy life.

East Sussex County Council’s public health team is backing ‘Know Your Numbers!’ Week, a national campaign by the charity Blood Pressure UK running from September 9 to 15.

Keith Austin is encouraging people to get their blood pressure checked

Keith Austin is encouraging people to get their blood pressure checked

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It urges people to know their blood pressure numbers and take action against high blood pressure, which can lead to heart attacks, strokes and other illnesses.

People can get their blood pressure checked for free as part of an NHS Health Check, if they haven’t had one in the last five years.

Keith Austin, from Pevensey, said, “I could have suffered a heart attack or stroke if I hadn’t attended my NHS Health Check, which showed I had high blood pressure that I was unaware of as I had never experienced any symptoms.

“Each step of the check was effectively communicated and the results were explained clearly. The follow-up support and treatment I received afterwards was excellent.”

NHS Health Checks are offered to people aged 40 to 74 who haven’t had one in the last five years and haven’t already been diagnosed with cardiovascular disease, high blood pressure or cholesterol or diabetes.

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The service is available through GP practices, some pharmacies and the county’s healthy life service, One You East Sussex. More information is available at www.eastsussex.gov.uk/healthchecks

Darrell Gale, East Sussex director of public health, said, “Around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most don’t know it. It doesn’t have any symptoms so the only way to find out is to get a blood pressure check.

“Once you ‘know your numbers’ you can get support to bring your blood pressure under control, prevent life-altering or even life-threatening diseases and live a long and healthy life.”

People can control their blood pressure through reducing salt intake, drinking less alcohol, eating more fruit and veg, taking regular exercise and maintaining a healthy weight.

More information about high blood pressure and where people can access a Blood Pressure Check can be found at www.bloodpressureuk.org/BloodPressureandyou