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FEELING THE PRESSURE; 71% have 'silent killer' hypertension.

Byline: LACHLAN MACKINNON

SEVEN out of 10 people are at risk of serious health problems due to high blood pressure.

Worrying research today reveals 71% recorded above normal readings. Men are worse than women on 77% compared with 66%.

Dubbed the silent killer, it is normally caused by too much boozing, being too heavy or genetics.

But many people are unaware they have it as they don't have symptoms.

Those with higher blood pressure, or hypertension, are at greater risk from heart attacks and strokes.

Consultant heart surgeon Leslie Hamilton said: "These figures are a stark reminder high blood pressure is a major health issue for the UK.

"As a heart surgeon I'm exposed every day to what can go wrong when you don't take control of it. Many people put heart problems down to genetics but your blood pressure is one area you can control with lifestyle changes and medicine."

Just one in 10 people have an ideal blood pressure, the study from 100,000 tests carried out at Lloyds pharmacy outlets reveals. More than six out of 10 men aged 25 to 34 and seven out of 10 aged 35 to 44 are above normal. Among women, 39% of 25 to 34-yearolds had high scores and 52% of those aged 35 to 44.

Shafeeque Mohammed, heart expert at Lloyds pharmacy - which has carried out over 1.7 million hypertension tests since 2003 - said: "Controlling your blood pressure is vital to help maintain a healthy heart and that's why we want to encourage a change in people's attitudes towards their heart health.

"If everyone made getting tested a priority this would be a huge step towards preventing serious conditions such as heart attacks and strokes."

Lloyds pharmacies are offering free checks along with advice.

Blood pressure measures how strongly blood pushes against artery walls as it is pumped round your body by your heart. A high reading is 140/90 or more. A normal one is 130/80.

Low pressure can also be a problem as it causes inadequate blood flow to vital organs. It is classed as a reading of 90/60 or lower.

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Publication:The Mirror (London, England)
Date:Feb 14, 2012
Words:364
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