New statistics from Public Health England (PHE) have shown that St Helens is committed to raising awareness of high blood pressure.
St Helens Council and St Helens Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are at the forefront of the effort to combat the condition, which can serious health complications such as strokes and heart attacks - as well as increase the risk of kidney disease and dementia.
The data shows that 63 per cent of people in St Helens with high blood pressure have been diagnosed. However, it is estimated that there are more than 20,000 local people living with high blood pressure and don’t know about it.
In St Helens, there are a number of ongoing initiatives to encourage people to have their blood pressure checked in General Practice, pharmacies and with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service.
Examples of initiatives include training people to become Blood Pressure Champions, offering blood pressure checks in the community, and promoting campaigns such as PHE's One You - Know Your Heart Age Campaign, which in 2018 saw over 100 local people take the Heart Age Test and receive a blood pressure check.
The Heart Age Test asks physical and lifestyle information, and determines whether someone's heart is at a higher age than their actual age. Having a heart age older than your chronological age means that you are at a higher risk of having a heart attack or stroke.
St Helens Council’s Cabinet Member for Better Health and Community Voice, Councillor Jeanette Banks, said: “As an individual, having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.
"In St Helens we are doing lots of great work to raise awareness and identify people with high blood pressure. I would encourage people to get their blood pressure checked; it takes just a few minutes and could be a life saver.”
There are a number of ways that people living in St Helens can get their blood pressure checked.
A Wellpoint Kiosk is available in the town centre which can offer blood pressure and heart age checks.
Situated in the Smokefree St Helens Hub in the Hardshaw Centre, the hub's services are available to use from Monday to Friday from 9am until 5pm, and Saturday, 10am till 2pm.
Another general scheme for 40 to 74-year-olds is a free NHS Health Check with your GP or the Healthy Living Team, which they may be entitled to.
The check includes lifestyle questions and measures such as height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol. Since April 2018, over 500 people have been found to have high blood pressure during their health check.
For more information on blood pressure and the heart age test, visit www.sthelens.gov.uk/bloodpressure
For more information about the FREE NHS Health Check, contact your GP or the Healthy Living Team on 0300 300 0103.