One in two referred to GP following free heart check

By June Shannon Heart News   |   2nd Jul 2019

The Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit launches new partnership with Pfizer Bristol-Myers Squibb

More than half or one in two of the members of the public who received a free heart health check by the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit (MHU) were referred to their GP for follow up, it has emerged.

According to an evaluation of the MHU carried out by the Irish Heart Foundation, of the 20,848 people who attended the Irish Heart Foundation’s MHU from January 1st, 2017 to 31st December 2018, more than half or 55 per cent were referred to their GP for follow up and 34 per cent were found to have high blood pressure.

The Irish Heart Foundation’s MHU provides free heart health checks to the public which include, a blood pressure and pulse check, heart health information and lifestyle advice.

Today (Tuesday 2nd July 2019) the Irish Heart Foundation announced a new partnership with Pfizer Bristol-Myers Squibb which will support the MHU for six months so it can continue to offer free heart health checks to local communities across Ireland.

Known as the silent killer, many people with high blood pressure have no symptoms and are therefore completely unaware that they are at risk. However, a blood pressure check is a simple, quick and non-invasive test which could prove lifesaving.

Once identified, high blood pressure is manageable through lifestyle changes and medication if required.

"Our evaluation revealed that over half of people checked were referred to the GP which is an alarmingly high rate,"

Dr Angie Brown, Medical Director , Irish Heart Foundation

The evaluation of Mobile Health Unit visitors in 2017 and 2018 also revealed that 56 per cent drank alcohol, with 9 per cent drinking in excess of the guidelines, and one in four were inactive five days per week, both which can increase blood pressure.

Dr Angie Brown, Consultant Cardiologist and Medical Director with the Irish Heart Foundation, said, “Having a heart health check regularly allows people to monitor their blood pressure and pulse, and be referred to the GP when necessary. Our evaluation revealed that over half of people checked were referred to the GP which is an alarmingly high rate. High blood pressure is one of the main risk factors for heart attack and stroke in Ireland, and yet many people do not know what their blood pressure is or that a normal blood pressure reading is around 120 over 80.”

“80 per cent of premature heart disease and stroke is preventable and it is important that the public take the opportunity to receive their free check and advice when in their locality. We are delighted Pfizer Bristol-Myers Squibb has sponsored the Mobile Health Unit and enabled us to provide free heart health checks to communities and help us in our fight against heart disease and stroke,” Dr Brown added.

Dr Declan O’Callaghan, Medical Director, Pfizer Healthcare Ireland, said, “Pfizer is delighted to support the Irish Heart Foundation’s Mobile Health Unit as it embarks upon its next journey across Ireland. Thousands of people in every country have benefitted from the services of the Mobile Health Unit in the last couple of years. Many people may be unaware of their risk factors for cardiovascular disease and we would therefore encourage people to avail of this free service and efficient service.”

The Irish Heart Foundation’s heart health checks are free of charge and the charity encourages all adults aged 30 and over to have their blood pressure checked each year. For more information about the Mobile Health Unit and to view its upcoming locations, please visit irishheart.ie, or call the Irish Heart Foundation at 01 6685001.

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blood pressure blood pressure check cardiovascular diease free service heart disease mobile health unit pulse check stroke

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