THE organisers of a ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ health-check day in Helensburgh say that half a dozen members of the public had to be given an urgent referral to their GP as a result.

Members of Helensburgh Garelochside Rotary joined forces with the town’s CPR and defibrillator association and local practice nurses Angela McKell and Jean Cairns for the event at the town’s Waitrose supermarket.

And with the higher-than-normal stress levels that might be expected among those buying their weekly shop at the store on a Saturday, Sheenah Nelson from the club, who organised the event, said some of the findings were as alarming as others were encouraging.

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“The number of people taking part doubled on the year before,” Sheenah said.

“Almost half were told to go and speak to their GP, some were told to go within the week, and about six were given an urgent referral to go to their GP practice on the following Monday.”

The team of volunteers at the store also had advice suitable even for customers whose blood pressure reading did not give cause for alarm.

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Sheenah added: “One in seven people in the UK are diagnosed as having high blood pressure but many remain undiagnosed and untreated.

“Having your blood pressure checked is simple, quick and painless. You can reduce your chance of having a stroke by getting your blood pressure checked regularly.”

A raised blood pressure reading on three separate occasions is usually taken as an indicator of sustained high blood pressure, but simple lifestyle changes can all bring it back down to normal level, including stopping smoking, adopting a healthier diet, drinking sensibly and taking regular exercise.

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