High blood pressure is a silent and potentially deadly condition that significantly increases a person’s chance of a heart attack or stroke.  Combatting high blood pressure is a priority for the Directors
of Public Health for Cheshire and Merseyside who are
part of the Champs Public Health Collaborative.

On 14th of April the Stroke Association are holding an awareness day, ‘Know your blood pressure’, to raise awareness on the effects of high blood pressure (particularly the increased risk of stroke) and to encourage members of the public to have their blood pressure checked. High blood pressure can have a variety of health implications including the onset of more serious conditions.

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) are recognised for their work helping to raise awareness of public health issues across the region and are also offering their support for Know your Blood Pressure day. To mark the occasion, Paul Hancock, Chief Fire Officer for CFRS had his blood pressure measured by members of the Stroke Association team (pictured).

Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service conduct Safe and Well visits for vulnerable members of the community over the age of 65. These include a number of public health initiatives including referral to bowel cancer screening, atrial fibrillation screening, smoking cessation referrals and alcohol reduction referrals. Fire and rescue staff come into contact with vulnerable people on a daily basis and Safe and Well Visits are the ideal opportunity to ensure the most is made out of this contact. They also show how health and emergency services can work together to improve the health and wellbeing of the population.

It is expected that over the coming year these visits will also include extra help to people who have just been discharged from hospital after a fall and to address high blood pressure.

Dr Muna Abdel Aziz, Director of Public Health (DPH) for Warrington, and the Cheshire & Merseyside DPH Lead for Blood Pressure said: “We are pleased that CFRS are supporting public health activities in the region, and particularly that they are helping to raise awareness of the impact that high blood pressure can have on health. This is extremely important as tackling high blood pressure is a priority for the Directors of Public Health across Cheshire & Merseyside. To have the support of other public facing bodies, such as the Fire Service, who can help to influence is immeasurably helpful and positive.”

Paul Hancock, Chief Fire Officer and Chief Executive for Cheshire Fire and Rescue Service, said: “The Service has a strong record of prevention work to help protect people through its Safe and Well visits, so I am pleased to support this awareness day by having my blood pressure checked.

“Thankfully mine is fine but it’s always better to be safe rather than sorry. It’s really important to identify if someone has high blood pressure so I would encourage everyone to get theirs checked, using this quick and simple test.”

Alexis Kolodziej, Deputy Director for Policy and Influencing at the Stroke Association, said: “High blood pressure normally doesn’t have any symptoms and it’s much more common than people think. That’s why we’re urging as many people as possible have theirs checked at their nearest event. It’s quick and easy and it could save your life. Know Your Blood Pressure Day is an incredibly successful health campaign where we host free blood pressure tests all over the country, and means the difference between life and death in some cases. With events like these, we can give people who are most at risk of stroke the early warning they need to take preventative action.”

The Stroke Association will be conducting a number of nationwide events to encourage members of the public to have their blood pressure measured for free. For more information on high blood pressure and to find where your nearest event is happening visit the Stroke Association website: www.stroke.org.uk/kybp