Look after your heart health this Valentine’s Day

Look after your heart health this Valentine’s Day image

Home » Look after your heart health this Valentine’s Day

Tennyson famously wrote that “In the Spring a young man’s fancy lightly turns to thoughts of love,” but as Valentine’s Day arrives, local doctors have urged men and women of more mature years to make sure their blood pressure is at a safe level, to help avoid heart health problems now and in the future.

Cardiovascular disease (CVD) is a general term for conditions affecting the heart or blood vessels.  It is the second biggest killer in England, after dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, causing a quarter of all deaths.  It is also a leading cause of disability and health inequalities.

Dr Sarah Whiteman, chief medical director at Bedfordshire, Luton and Milton Keynes Integrated Care Board, said:

“High blood pressure is the largest single risk factor for CVD but it rarely has noticeable symptoms.  That means an estimated 4.2 million people in England are walking around with blood pressure which is too high but undiagnosed.

“Left untreated, high blood pressure puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, including your brain, kidneys and eyes.  This in turn can increase your risk of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions, such as heart attacks, stroke and vascular dementia.

“The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get a blood pressure test, which is a simple, non-invasive procedure.  Once diagnosed, high blood pressure can be effectively managed with prescription drugs and health behaviour changes.

“A healthy blood pressure means that your heart isn’t working overtime, so it’s got plenty of spare capacity for love this Valentine’s Day.”

Research suggests that those in the following categories are more likely than the rest of the population to have undiagnosed high blood pressure:

  • Aged 55 or over;
  • Aged 40 or over, and with a body mass index of 30 or more;
  • Aged 40 or over, and who consume alcohol almost every day.

However, those with the worst health outcomes from CVD are more likely to be of Bangladeshi, Pakistani, Indian, Black African or Black Caribbean heritage, or living in areas of deprivation.

Free NHS blood pressure checks are available in community pharmacies for adults who are 40 years old or over, who do not have a current diagnosis of high blood pressure and have not had their blood pressure checked by a doctor, nurse or pharmacist in the last six months.  Most pharmacies offer this service, but you can find a participating pharmacy online.

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