Doctor urges people to check for high blood pressure
A senior doctor is warning people about high blood pressure, after 9,100 patients came into Epsom, Sutton and St Helier hospitals with the condition.
Blood pressure measures how strongly your blood presses against the walls of your arteries as it is pumped around the body.
When blood pressure is too high it puts a strain on the heart, increasings risks of heart attacks, heart failure, strokes and kidney disease.
People who have the condition are twice more likely to die from heart disease as people with normal blood pressure.
The hospital calculates there are about 62,000 unnecessary deaths from strokes and heart attacks each years as a result of poor blood pressure control.
Dr Pauline Swift, specialist in high blood pressure, said: "Unfortunately, in the vast majority of cases, high blood pressure is symptomless and many people don't realise that they've got it. That is why it is often called the silent killer.
"It is therefore vital that if you don’t know what your blood pressure is or haven’t had it checked for five years, you book an appointment with your GP and have it measured.
"It only takes a few minutes to have you blood pressure looked at, and for most people, it’s absolutely nothing to worry about. Importantly, hypertension is entirely treatable, so it really is worth taking the time to have it checked.
"I would urge everyone over the age of 40 and those in high risk groups to have their blood pressure checked every five years. It’s a very simple thing to do, and could save your life."
Factors such as being overweight, eating a lot of salt and not doing enough exercise are often linked to the condition.
Doctors have also linked it to people who have a relative with high blood pressure, those aged over 65 and people of African or Caribbean descent.
Visit nhs.co.uk or bpassoc.org.uk