Blood pressure screening initiative’s continued success

The global public health screening initiative launched in Wales last year by Cardiff Metropolitan University continued to secure further partners to host free blood pressure screenings as part of May Measurement Month (MMM).

Cardiff Met reports many people came board to support May Measure Month in Wales, including AMs and Casualty Actor Patrick Robinson.

This global campaign is co-ordinated by the International Society of Hypertension and World Hypertension League, with the Wales initiative being led by Dr Barry McDonnell, a Cardiovascular Physiologist at Cardiff Met.

This year the Wales MMM initiative partnered with Stroke Hub Wales, another scheme launched at Cardiff Met in 2017.

Barry McDonnell said “We are delighted to have Stroke Hub Wales (SHW) on board as a key partner for this initiative. Working with SHW and the efforts of Dr Seckam (SHW manager), the Wales MMM campaign has benefitted hugely from enabling the campaign to engage with the Stroke Hub’s many partners, e.g. University Health Boards, Wales Ambulance Services, South Wales GP clusters and the Step Out For Stroke initiative.”

Dr Abdul Seckam said “Getting involved in this international initiative (MMM) is important to help prevent stroke and can save lives in Wales. We are delighted to also have software and data governance and safety company HIRUMED on board and partnering the Wales MMM campaign again this year.”

Last year, over 1.2 million people in eighty countries had their blood pressure measured worldwide during May Measurement Month. The initiative aimed to raise awareness of high blood pressure, the number one contributing risk for worldwide deaths, with ten million lives lost to high blood pressure needlessly each year.

During May Measurement Month, global data was collected in order to highlight and study the risk of this preventable disease and to motivate governments to improve local screening facilities and policies as only half of people with high blood pressure are aware of their condition.

One in six people in Wales are currently being treated for high blood pressure, which is also the cause of many heart-related conditions, despite having no symptoms. Some people only find out after having a heart attack or stroke or are diagnosed with something else, such as heart or kidney disease. According to BHF Cymru, there could be up to three hundred and fifty thousand people who have not been diagnosed. Environmental factors such as being overweight, excessive intake of alcohol and dietary salt, and insufficient exercise, contribute to raised blood pressure.

Barry McDonnell said “Our aim is to measure as many people’s blood pressure as possible and find out just how big the problem is. We will then be able to demonstrate to governments across the world why they need to raise public awareness and provide us all with better blood pressure screening facilities and treatment. High blood pressure is a silent killer. It is the No. 1 contributing risk factor for global death, causing many cardiovascular complications. Data from last year’s campaign has just been published in the Lancet Global Health journal and has shown that 34.9% of individuals who had their blood pressure measured had high blood pressure. Alarmingly, approximately 17% of those with high blood pressure were not taking medication to treat the condition, and approx 46% of those receiving treatment for high blood pressure did not have their blood pressure appropriately controlled. We feel privileged that Cardiff Met is playing such a key part in this pioneering initiative.”

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