At the launch of the Novartis blood pressure awareness campaign. Photo: Robbie Reynolds?CPR
New research on blood pressure reveals that over half of people in Ireland with high blood pressure are not concerned they have it. Over 50 per cent of all Irish people aged over 50 have the condition.
The research was commissioned by Novartis who have launched a campaign to increase public awareness and understanding about high blood pressure.
According to Dr. Angie Brown, medical director, Irish Heart Foundation, high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke.
Every year more than 10,000 people in Ireland have a stroke. Allowing high blood pressure go untreated can not only lead to a stroke, it can also lead to other serious conditions such as heart attack, heart failure and kidney disease.
High blood pressure is easy to diagnose and usually controllable with lifestyle modifications and for some, medication where necessary. Unfortunately, there are few symptoms and the only way it can be diagnosed is by having one's blood pressure measured at regular intervals.
Novartis has launched a new text service that reminds people to take their medicine on time, available by visiting www.dontforget.ie
A new website with information about high blood pressure, www.bloodpressure.ie
, has also been launched and a national and regional radio campaign is also being rolled out.
Lending his support at the launch, well-known doctor and television presenter Dr. Mark Hamilton said: "There is often no single cause of high blood pressure. A number of factors can combine to raise blood pressure and it can tend to run in families. Being overweight, smoking, excessive alcohol, poor levels of exercise, high stress levels and eating too much sodium (found in salt) may lead to raised blood pressure.
"It's usual, though, for blood pressure to increase as you get older. There is no cure for high blood pressure, but it's usually controllable with lifestyle changes and medication if required."