Ground-breaking scheme aims to reduce strokes and heart attacks

Two blood pressure advisors, Marian Chilton and Jaz Shandhu, will be touring Telford and Wrekin this year taking people’s blood pressure as part of an innovative community-based project.

Their aim is to carry out 10,000 new blood pressure tests by the end of March 2020.

The advisors are in place thanks to funding from the British Heart Foundation (BHF), which was awarded to Telford & Wrekin Council to lead this ground-breaking scheme.

Andy Burford, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said: “People often don’t know they have high blood pressure until it’s too late as there are no symptoms - the consequences could be suffering a stroke or heart attack.

“People with no symptoms do not go to their doctor, so they don’t get their blood pressure tested unless they feel ill.

“Thousands more people will have their blood pressure checked by testing in convenient community locations rather than in GP surgeries, and this will help to identify some of the estimated 18,000 people in Telford and Wrekin who currently have undetected high blood pressure.”

The advisors will be visiting large employers in the borough, such as the police, the council, Veolia and Ideverde. Marian and Jaz will also be at a series of public events so members of the public can have a quick test.

Jaz Shandhu, Blood Pressure Advisor for Telford and Wrekin Council, said: “Marian and I have tested 500 people so far, the majority have had normal results, but some have needed monitoring to check for high blood pressure at home.

“People have told us how much they appreciate having their results explained to them as often a nurse or GP will not have time to do that.

“The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to have it tested. So if you see myself or Marian wearing our red BHF t-shirts then please do come and get your blood pressure cheeked. We are very friendly!”
Paul Stern, the BHF’s Health Service Engagement Lead for the Midlands, said: “The BHF has awarded £1.5 million to organisations across the country to test community-based approaches to blood pressure testing.

“We urgently need to find the millions of people across the UK living with undiagnosed high blood pressure, and this innovative project in Telford and Wrekin will help us in doing that.”

People with high blood pressure are up to three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke. According to the BHF, around 50% of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure.

Pictured:Left to right: Marian Chilton and Jaz Shandhu - Blood pressure Advisors.

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