350,000 people in Wales living with undiagnosed high blood pressure


~ As the National Assembly for Wales join in support of May Measurement Month, BHF Cymru and Cardiff Metropolitan University call for further research in Wales into causes of hypertension ~

High blood pressure is the largest known risk factor for cardiovascular disease and 1 in 6 adults in Wales have been diagnosed. Research by the British Heart Foundation (BHF) Cymru shows that for every 10 people diagnosed with high blood pressure, 7 remain undiagnosed and untreated – there could be up to 350,000 people who have not been diagnosed.

Dr Dai Lloyd AM is working to support BHF Cymru and Cardiff Metropolitan University in raising awareness of the importance of monitoring blood pressure by holding a testing event at Ty Hywel for all Assembly Members and Civil Servants at the National Assembly for Wales.

Dr Dai Lloyd AM said: ““I am very pleased to be sponsoring the British Heart Foundation Cymru and Cardiff Metropolitan University event at the National Assembly. It is vitally important that we raise awareness of the effects of High Blood Pressure, and initiatives such as these undertaken at both a national and global level are vital in meeting that aim. It is particularly pleasing that Cardiff Metropolitan University and BHF Cymru are leading the campaign in Wales to help us understand and address this treatable disease. We know that high blood pressure can lead to health problems in future, particularly in terms of the risk of a heart attack and stroke. Getting your blood pressure checked means that the issue is acknowledged and you can start to put in place measures to reduce it.”

High blood pressure is the single biggest treatable cause of death worldwide. If left untreated, it can cause many cardiovascular conditions, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and dementia.

Marie, 43, from Bonymaen in Swansea is a single mother and a carer for two children. She was diagnosed with high blood pressure in 2015 but didn’t go to follow up checks to monitor her blood pressure levels. A year later, she suffered a heart attack and underwent an angioplasty procedure to fit three stents to widen her narrowed arteries. She still suffers from chest pain and severe anxiety.

Marie said: “I would advise anyone who is diagnosed with high blood pressure to keep going back for regular monitoring.”

Dr Barry McDonnell, Senior Lecturer in Cardiovascular Physiology at Cardiff Metropolitan University said: “As the Wales co-ordinator of the MMM17 campaign, I would sincerely like to thank Dr Dai Lloyd AM and The Welsh Government for their support in promoting this important initiative. Helping us to increase people’s awareness of the risk associated with having high blood pressure is crucially important in improving the health of the people of Wales. We hope that through the support of Dr Dai Lloyd and AM’s, more people will have their Blood Pressure checked through one of the many sites being set up all around Wales during May. This information will also help our research in the understanding of the causes and impact of high blood pressure on rates of stroke and heart attack in the future.”

Joanne Oliver, Health Service Engagement Lead for BHF Cymru said: “We are delighted that the National Assembly for Wales are supporting us in May Measurement Month in order to raise awareness of high blood pressure, a significant risk factor for cardiovascular disease.”

“The BHF has a long history of investment into blood pressure research and is currently funding around £21m in this area. This includes fundamental laboratory science through to clinical research. This research could not happen without the support of our generous supporters. We urgently need to fund more research to better understand the causes of high blood pressure, in order to prevent these conditions developing and to save more lives.”

May Measurement Month (MMM17) is a campaign led by the International Society of Hypertension’s global initiative with the same aim – to highlight the importance of measuring blood pressure.

Anyone over 18 years old, who has not had their blood pressure measured in the last year is eligible to attend a Welsh measurement session at venues including gym’s, pharmacies, shopping centres, workplaces, universities and other public spaces – a full list is available on www.mmmwales.com