Orpington targeted with life-saving health initiative
In an attempt to decrease the number of strokes affecting local people in Orpington, Vision Express and the Stroke Association brought their free Know Your Blood Pressure event to the town and after presenting high readings, refered 10% of those tested for further medical attention.
Held at Vision Express’ store in Nugent Shopping Park, the aim of the event was to highlight hypertension as a contributing factor in around half of all strokes in England, Wales and Northern Ireland.
National statistics highlight that within the NHS Bromley Clinical Commissioning Group, 5,086 people are stroke survivors, a figure that represents 1.5% of the local population.
Orpington resident, Danny Hempenstall, aged 50, was one of those to take advantage of the free blood pressure check. Danny’s readings were normal, but the information he was provided on the links between high blood pressure and stroke, will, he explains, ensure he has checks more often: “I was walking past Vision Express and saw they were offering free blood pressure tests so I decided to get mine checked.
“Barry the stroke ambassador, was very informative and he made me aware of the importance of having it [blood pressure] tested regularly.”
London-based charity ambassador, Barry Coppock, who lost his mother due to stroke, was on hand at the event to perform the potentially life-saving medical test. Barry, aged 69, began volunteering at the Stroke Association almost nine years ago, and is now urging the public to recognise the dangers of high blood pressure.
“I joined the organisation because I wanted to do something meaningful,” he explains. “I thought it would be good to get involved with a voluntary organisation, as I felt I could identify with those affected by stroke following my family’s experience with the condition.
“Stroke just doesn’t have the same profile as other health conditions, yet its consequences can be life-changing, if not fatal.
“People often think they’re okay, they assume they’d know if they had high blood pressure, but it often doesn’t have any symptoms,” Barry added. “The only way to confirm you have it is to have a quick, painless test. This is particularly important as most strokes could be prevented if high blood pressure is detected early enough.”
The natural synergy between Vision Express, as an eye care provider, and the Stroke Association has seen an award-winning partnership develop to educate people about stroke. Up to 60 per cent of stroke survivors will experience visual problems, yet one in three are unaware that sight loss could be a problem or that treatment and support is available.
“We were really pleased to host this Know Your Blood Pressure event at our store,” says Vision Express Orpington store manager, Aaron Moffat. “It’s a great initiative and a perfect partnership. We even gained a couple of new customers who booked in for eye tests after they came in to have their blood pressure checked.”
9.5 million people, or one in seven, in the UK are diagnosed with high blood pressure. For every 10 people diagnosed, seven remain undiagnosed and untreated – accounting for more than 5.5 million people in England alone. Uncontrolled blood pressure can, over time, lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and eye problems. Although there are a greater number of stroke related deaths in women (23,000 in the UK in 2015 alone) men are at higher risk of having a stroke at a younger age.
Gabi Field, Head of Community and Events Fundraising at the Stroke Association, said: “A simple and painless test could prevent a devastating stroke. Too few people are aware just how serious stroke is – it is the UK’s fourth biggest killer.
“It’s vital that everyone knows what their blood pressure level should be and has regular checks.”
Did you know?
- There are over 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK
- The average age of stroke has decreased in recent years.
- People are now most likely to have a stroke over the age of 55.
- Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and twice as many men than prostate and testicular cancer combined, each year.
- Up to 60 per cent of people will experience visual problems following a stroke, yet one in three are unaware that sight loss could be a problem or that treatment and support is available
- For every stroke avoided the NHS saves £23,000, not including the vast social care costs and the effect on the economy from people needing to stop work
‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ events are taking place at selected Vision Express stores nationwide throughout 2017.