At Irish Heart, we’ve launched a year-round Mobile Health Unit service delivering vital blood pressure checks for free. Why is this so important? Because 64% of people over 50 years old have high blood pressure which is a leading cause of stroke, heart disease and heart attacks.
Irish Heart’s Mobile Health Unit’s travel schedule will be published on our website one month in advance. We highly recommend you make early preparations and take advantage of our free checks. All it takes is setting aside the time for a brief examination, 10 minutes or so, that could guard against your risk of stroke, heart disease and premature death.
This is the core message and aim of our new all-year-round national mobile health service, which is providing free blood pressure checks delivered by nurses to prevent stroke and heart attack all over Ireland.
The Mobile Health Unit has been made possible thanks to the staff of Bank of Ireland and their range of employee-led fundraising initiatives. All funds raised will be matched by the Bank through its community and charity investment initiative, Give Together.
At the launch of our Mobile Unit, Gardaí Elaine Holmes and Lee Cummins, from Store Street Garda Station, were literally stopping celebrities in their tracks at Wolfe Tone Memorial Park, Jervis Street, to check for healthy blood pressure readings of 120/80. Celebrities Laura Woods, Chris Newman and Denise McCormack were also urging the public to avail of a FREE check to detect the silent killer.
We’ve all heard of high blood pressure but I had no idea it was silent or that it was a leading cause of stroke.
TV3’s Laura Woods said: “To think that just one minute is all it takes to check your blood pressure – it’s a no brainer and now it’s even easier to get checked because Irish Heart is coming to a place near you right throughout the year!”
Early detection is a powerful tool in the fight against high blood pressure which is the leading cause of stroke; and for that reason Irish Heart recommends that from the age of 30 everyone should know their blood pressure levels, and have them checked as a preventative step.
High blood pressure is a silent, stealthy and symptomless killer and is a leading cause of stroke, heart disease, premature death and disability in Ireland today, with almost one million people suffering from it.
Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director with Irish Heart said: “While most people have heard of high blood pressure, many still don’t understand the importance of having it checked. Right now in Ireland close to one million adults have the condition but half of them don’t know it.”
Silent and invisible, high blood pressure can seriously damage blood vessels and the heart if left unchecked.
Dr. Brown continued, “People with high blood pressure are three times more likely to have a stroke or heart attack compared to those with healthy or controlled blood pressure.”
“The good news is that a simple blood pressure check can be all it takes to detect high blood pressure, which can then be effectively managed through lifestyle changes such as maintaining a healthy weight, being active and consuming less salt, fatty foods and alcohol. In some cases doctors will recommend a combination of lifestyle changes and medication to manage blood pressure and protect against strokes.”
Those most at risk of high blood pressure are aged 45 years and over. And 64% of people over 50 in Ireland have high blood pressure, while 41% of people living with high blood pressure are not taking adequate medication.
High blood pressure can be detected even in younger people but the only way to know if you have high blood pressure is to get checked. Irish Heart is now offering free blood pressure checks in communities across the country through the recently launched dedicated Mobile Health Unit.
Irish Heart’s Mobile Health Unit is staffed by fully qualified nurses and the free blood pressure test is non-invasive and after the nurses will advise you on how to manage your blood pressure, as well as on general lifestyle.
Awareness of high blood pressure in Ireland is low (55%) compared with levels of awareness in the USA (86%) and England (64%). Just think, 10 minutes of your day will arm you with the knowledge you need to cut down the risks of stroke, heart disease and, even, death.
Irish Heart relies on public and corporate donations for 92% of its income. The ground-breaking year-round service of the Mobile Health Unit has been made possible by the support of Bank of Ireland staff fund-raising the running costs.
Corporate partner Medtronic also supported this initiative by providing the initial purchase cost of the vehicle.
1. Know your blood pressure: Get your blood pressure checked and know your number. A healthy blood pressure is 120/80.
2. Regular physical exercise: Try to do at least 30 minutes of moderate intensity activity every day
3. Keep to a healthy weight: For some people, losing weight is all they need to do to get their blood pressure down to a normal level
4. Eat a healthy balanced diet: Add more vegetables and fruit to your diet and cut down on salt consumption
5. Drink less alcohol: If you drink alcohol, stick within the recommended limits
6. Take your medicines as prescribed. Don’t stop taking your medication without consulting with your GP first.
View our blood pressure guide here or for general health advice, talk to an Irish Heart Foundation nurse in confidence on the National Heart & Stroke Helpline Freephone number 1800 25 25 50, 9am – 5 pm Monday to Friday, and till 7 pm on Thursdays.