Pharmacists can play key role in stroke prevention

By June Shannon Stroke News   |   5th Jul 2018

The Irish Pharmacy Union has launched a new study aimed at detecting undiagnosed hypertension and atrial fibrillation.

Pharmacists in Ireland can play an important role in detecting undiagnosed high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation, potentially preventing a number of catastrophic strokes.

This is the aim of a new pilot study by the Irish Pharmacists Union (IPU) in conjunction with the Irish Heart Foundation, that aims to detect undiagnosed hypertension and atrial fibrillation in the community.

The IPU Pilot to Detect Hypertension and Atrial Fibrillation, will provide a heart health information service to people aged 50 and over to determine the level of hypertension and/or atrial fibrillation in this group.

Launched today (Thursday 05 July), the IPU project, which commences this month, aims to check 1,000 people for undiagnosed hypertension and AF.

Members of the public who receive the health checks will be offered lifestyle advice as appropriate and referred to their GP, if necessary, using Irish Heart Foundation criteria.

Participating pharmacies will display posters asking people aged 50 years and over to participate in the pilot project. Each pharmacy will be asked to recruit 20 people, giving a total of 1,000 pilot participants.

 

"The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and poor circulation."

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More than half of people in Ireland over the age of 50 have high blood pressure. The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and poor circulation. These problems can be avoided if your blood pressure is checked and kept under control.

Atrial fibrillation (AF), detectable through screening, is the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia or abnormal heart beat, occurring in 1–2 per cent of the general population, and its prevalence is estimated to at least double in the next 50 years as the population ages. It can affect adults of any age but is more common as one gets older. It is estimated to affect at least 1 per cent of the population at the age of 60 and 5 per cent at the age of 70 years.

While not immediately life-threatening, AF can lead to heart failure or stroke and so it has potentially serious effects. AF confers a 5-fold risk of stroke, and one in five of all strokes is attributed to AF. Ischaemic strokes in association with AF are often fatal and patients who survive are left more disabled by their stroke and more likely to suffer another stroke than patients with other causes of stroke. In consequence, the risk of death from AF-related stroke is doubled and the cost of care is increased 1.5-fold.

 

"Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart beat which causes one in five of all strokes,"

Janis Morrissey, Head of Health Promotion , Irish Heart Foundation

Head of Health Promotion at the Irish Heart Foundation, Janis Morrissey, said, “The Irish Heart Foundation is pleased to support the Irish Pharmacy Union’s new pilot study to detect high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation. 64% of people in Ireland over 50 have high blood pressure. Atrial fibrillation is an irregular heart beat which causes one in five of all strokes. Unfortunately, many people don’t realise that they have these conditions, but both can be detected by simple, non-invasive checks of blood pressure and pulse. This study will help to examine the value of community-based pharmacists in the identification of high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation.

All pharmacists participating in the study will be trained by Irish Heart Foundation staff in background knowledge of cardiovascular disease as well as through practical workshops to develop their skills in checking blood pressure and pulse. In addition, Irish Heart Foundation Standard Operating Procedures will be used to ensure consistency in the checks. People who participate will be offered lifestyle advice as appropriate and referred to their GP, if considered necessary, using Irish Heart Foundation criteria.”

 

 

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atrial fibrillation heart attack high blood pressure high blood pressure. stroke hypertension

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