North East Connected

Free blood pressure clinic in Sunderland results in 40% of participants being referred to a GP

Screen Shot 2016-05-05 at 16.24.34Almost half of Sunderland residents who attended a free blood pressure clinic at Vision Express (on Thursday 21 April) were referred to a GP for further consultation. This follows research from the Stroke Association indicating a lack of knowledge about the dangers of high blood pressure, which has been dubbed a ‘silent killer’.

The Bridges Vision Express store welcomed Sunderland residents to its ‘Know your blood pressure’ event in partnership with the Stroke Association. The initiative aimed to raise awareness of the dangers of increased blood pressure, which has no obvious symptoms.

Statistics from the Health and Social Care Information Centre (HSCIC) demonstrate that approximately 6,117(1) people within the Sunderland CCG (clinical commissioning group) area are survivors of stroke, which represents approximately 2.16%(2) of the local,populace.

Stroke Association family and carer support coordinators Rebecca Girvan and Hannah Parrington, carried out the vital health test and provided information. As a direct result of the tests, 40% of residents were advised to see a GP fora follow up consultation.

Vision Express store manager, Ian Laing, said: “This is a really important event – many people were surprised that early warning signs of stroke can be picked up by our trained Vision Express optometrists through a simple eye test. There is a significant link between sight problems and stroke, with over half of stroke survivors suffering from ongoing visual issues.”

Ian added: “Rebecca and Hannah from the Stroke Association provided information to the local community about the link between stroke and vision and explained why regular health checks are important to help detect a whole range of health conditions – regardless of age.”

Jim Swindells, director of fundraising at the Stroke Association, added: “High blood pressure is a silent killer, but a simple and painless test could prevent a devastating stroke. Too few people are aware just how serious stroke is or that up to 80% of strokes could be prevented. It’s vital that everyone knows what their blood pressure level should be and has regular checks.”

High blood pressure affects 9.2 million people in the UK and a further estimated 6.8 million could be living without a diagnosis. Uncontrolled blood pressure can, over time, lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, kidney damage and eye problems. In 2014 alone, over 16,000 men in the UK died of stroke.

Did you know?

 There are around 1.2 million stroke survivors in the UK

 Over a quarter (26%) of all strokes in the UK occur in the under 65s

 Stroke kills twice as many women as breast cancer and more men than prostate and testicular cancer combined a year

 Stroke is the fourth single largest cause of death in the UK and second in the world

‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ events are taking place at selected Vision Express stores nationwide throughout 2016.

Vision Express offers an eye test to best practice guidelines of the College ofOptometrists (COO), with each Vision Express optometrist being a qualified eye health professional. To book an eye test visit the Vision Express store at 19/20 The Bridges, Sunderland, Tyne and Wear, SR1 3LB, call 0191 5020 513 or visit



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