HELENSBURGH residents are being urged to check if they’re at risk of having a stroke by having their blood pressure checked free of charge at an event in the town this weekend.

The Stroke Association is teaming up with the Rotary Club of Helensburgh and Garelochside to offer free checks at the town’s Waitrose store this Saturday, May 18, between 10am and 3.30pm.

The number of people diagnosed as having high blood pressure has increased consistently since 2005, and in the UK alone, more than five and a half million people remain undiagnosed and untreated for the condition – making them a ticking time bomb for stroke.

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Amanda Watkin, general secretary at Rotary International in Great Britain and Ireland, said: “Know Your Blood Pressure Day is all about raising awareness of the link between high blood pressure and stroke and getting people to have theirs checked.

“Rotary is supporting the Stroke Association with blood pressure events throughout the rest of the year. Stroke strikes every five minutes in the UK, but with events like these we hope to change this.

“A blood pressure check is quick and painless and it could save your life.”

Sheenah Nelson from Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary added: “High blood pressure often has no symptoms, and yet it’s much more common than most people think.

“We know that most strokes can and should be prevented and that’s why we’re urging everyone to have theirs checked.

“A blood pressure check only takes a moment, and is a simple way to reduce your risk of stroke.”

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The event is being held with the support of Waitrose, local practice nurses giving their time, and the area’s Chest, Heart and Stroke group.

A similar joint effort last year attracted the praise of West of Scotland Conservative MSP, and Helensburgh resident, Maurice Corry, who lodged a motion at the Scottish Parliament congratulating those behind the event.

This is the third year that the club has hosted such an event.