DATA released by the Heart Foundation this week shows that high blood pressure (hypertension) is on the rise in South Australia but for many people it is a case of ‘don’t know, don’t care or don’t check’.
Heart Foundation South Australia CEO, Ms Imelda Lynch, says this is of huge concern as it is a risk factor for developing heart disease, the biggest killer of South Australians.
“More than one in three (36%) or 462,000 adults in South Australia have hypertension and nearly half of these either don’t know they have it or they are not monitoring it regularly to know if their current treatment is working,” Ms Lynch said.
“Undiagnosed or untreated high blood pressure is a ticking time bomb for heart disease, the leader killer of South Australians, and for other serious illnesses like stroke, dementia and kidney disease, and you can suffer from high blood pressure without any symptoms,” she said.
“It is often called the ‘silent killer’ because you can’t tell if you’ve got it based on how you feel. So you really need to get your blood pressure checked by a health professional and then take action to lower it.”
Heart Week (30 April-6 May) shines a spotlight on heart disease and this year, we are focusing on high blood pressure. It is a timely reminder for people to get to know their blood pressure numbers by seeing their GP for a Heart Health Check.
High blood pressure, can be managed with lifestyle changes like eating a healthy diet that is low in salt, being physically active and not smoking. “For some people lifestyle changes alone are not enough and they will need to take medication to help lower their blood pressure as well,” Ms Lynch said.
“People taking hypertension medication should continue to monitor their blood pressure as blood pressure levels can change and so can your response to hypertension medication. You need to check in regularly with your GP or a health professional to make sure it is working properly for you.”
During Heart Week, the Heart Foundation and the University of South Australia have partnered to offer FREE Heart Health Checks to the community. Members of the community can visit UniSA’s Mobile Allied Health Clinic and learn more about heart health from the Heart Foundation.
For more information on Heart Week visit heartfoundation.org.au/heartweek
To find out more about the Mobile Heart Health Checks, visit https://heartfoundation.org.au/events/heart-week-mobile-heart-health-checks-in-adelaide/
Ryan Fritz started The Advocate in 2014 to provide not-for-profits and charities another media platform to tell their worthwhile hard news stories and opinion pieces effortlessly. In 2020, Ryan formed a team of volunteer journalists to help spread even more high-quality stories from the third sector. He also has over 10 years experience as a media and communications professional for not-for-profits and charities and currently works at Redkite, a childhood cancer charity.