Commuters and football fans should have blood pressure tested at train stations

Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily  Front Page newsletter and new  audio briefings. Commuters and football fans should have their blood pressure tested at train stations and stadiums, the British Heart Foundation has suggested. The leading charity has called on health services to provide free-to-use machines at train stations, supermarkets and football grounds across the country. It comes as new research suggests improved diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure could prevent 11,500 heart attacks, strokes and other cases of heart and circulatory disease every year .The treatment of blood pressure – which affects nearly 30 per cent of adults in the UK – has been highlighted as the ‘next frontier’ in reducing deaths related to these issues, a spokesman for the British Heart Foundation said. England falls behind the standards of other western countries, such as the United States, Canada and Sweden in terms of early detection of high blood pressure, according to the charity.Making the call yesterday, Simon Gillespie, chief executive of the British Heart Foundation, said the move was crucial for effective treatment of those suffering from high blood pressure.“It is key that high blood pressure is detected out in the community, and not just in GP surgeries. This means making sure that people can have their blood pressure checked in train stations, supermarkets and even football grounds. The more convenient it becomes, the more likely it is people will be diagnosed and treated,” he said. The charity calculated the figure of 11,500 by projecting Canada’s rates for diagnosis and treatment of high blood pressure on to UK statistics. Prevention rates in Canada improved dramatically in the 1990s after the introduction of volunteer-led blood pressure checks in the community as well as in pharmacies. Diagnosis rates for people with high blood pressure in Canada jumped from 13 per cent in the 1980s to 57 per cent today, in part thanks to the programme. In the UK, this rate stands at 34 per cent. The programme was also associated with a nine per cent reduction in hospital admissions for stroke, heart attack and heart failure among people aged under 65, compared to communities that did not implement the tests. In September, the British Heart Foundation announced £1.5m of funding for pop-up blood pressure check points in public places to pioneer the community-based approach. They now hope it will eventually be adopted at a national level.

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