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Check blood pressure in workplaces, says charity

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Patients could have their check in a barber shop Patients could have their blood pressure checked in a barber shop

Nurses should check blood pressure in unconventional settings, to aid prevention of heart-related conditions, the British Heart Foundation (BHF) has said.

According to the organisation, this should include increasing access to testing services in both healthcare settings, such as community pharmacies, and non-healthcare settings, such as football stadiums, train stations, leisure centres, barber shops and in the workplace. Additionally, providers must also establish new pathways to ensure continued support for self-management of conditions.

An estimated 115,000 cases of heart and circulatory disease could be prevented over the next ten years in England if diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure was improved, according to a report published by the BHF.

‘For too long our health system has been to responding to life threatening heart attacks or strokes, rather than detecting and managing the causes,’ said Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the BHF. Unless we radically change our approach, progress made in recent years could reverse the gains made over recent decades, and thousands of lives could be lost prematurely.’

An estimated 13.7 million adults in England have high blood pressure, with around 5.7 million of them undiagnosed. People with high blood pressure are up to three times more likely to develop heart disease or have a stroke.

‘Causes of heart attacks and strokes such as high blood pressure are well known and treatable. Identifying the millions of people who are undiagnosed with these conditions is an open goal that the health service cannot afford to miss; the benefits would be vast,’ added Mr Gillespie.

‘We also have an incredible opportunity in NHS England’s long term plan to make a sea change in the way we treat heart and circulatory disease by improving access to treatment and rehabilitation, and embracing the potential of technology and data science to improve care.’

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