The Global public health screening initiative launched in Wales last year by Cardiff Met continues to secure further partners to host free blood pressure screenings this month as part of May Measurement Month (MMM).
National Assembly for Wales Members, Casualty Actor Patrick Robinson, aka Martin 'Ash' Ashford and many more are among those to come on board and support May Measurement Month in Wales. This global campaign is co-ordinated by the International Society of Hypertension and World Hypertension League, with the Wales initiative being led by Dr Barry McDonnell, a Cardiovascular Physiologist at Cardiff Met.
This year the Wales MMM initiave has thankfully partnered up with Stroke Hub Wales, another scheme launched at Cardiff Met in 2017. Dr McDonnell said: " We are delighted to have Stroke Hub Wales (SHW) on board as a key partner for this initiative. Working with SHW and the efforts of Dr Seckam (SHW manager), the Wales MMM campaign has benefitted hugely from enabling the campaign to engage with the Stroke Hub's many partners, e.g. University Health Boards, Wales Ambulance Services, South Wales GP clusters and the Step Out For Stroke initiative".
Dr Abdul Seckam said: "Getting involved in this international initiative (MMM) is important to help prevent stroke and can save lives in Wales.
"We are delighted to also have software and data governance and safety company HIRUMED on board and partnering the Wales MMM campaign again this year."
Last year, over 1.2 million people across 80 different countries had their blood pressure measured worldwide during May Measurement Month. The initiative aimed to raise awareness of high blood pressure – the number one contributing risk for worldwide deaths, with 10 Million lives lost to high blood pressure needlessly each year.
During May Measurement Month, global data are collected in order to highlight and study the risk of this preventable disease and to motivate governments to improve local screening facilities and policies as only half of those with high blood pressure are aware of their condition.
One in six people in Wales are currently being treated for high blood pressure – which is also the cause of many heart-related conditions, despite having no symptoms. Some only find out after suffering a heart attack or stroke or are diagnosed with something else, such as heart or kidney disease and according to BHF Cymru, there could be up to 350,000 people who have not been diagnosed.
Environmental factors such as being overweight, excessive intake of alcohol and dietary salt, and insufficient exercise, contribute to raised blood pressure.
Dr Barry McDonnell said: "Our aim is to measure as many people's blood pressure as possible and find out just how big the problem is. We will then be able to demonstrate to governments across the world why they need to raise public awareness and provide us all with better blood pressure screening facilities and treatment.
"High blood pressure is a silent killer. It is the No. 1 contributing risk factor for global death, causing many cardiovascular complications. Data from last year's campaign has just been published in the Lancet Global Health journal and has shown that 34.9% of individuals who had their blood pressure measured had high blood pressure. Alarmingly, approximately 17% of those with high blood pressure were not taking medication to treat the condition, and approx. 46% of those receiving treatment for high blood pressure did not have their blood pressure appropriately controlled.
"We feel privileged that Cardiff Met is playing such a key part in this pionerring inititative."
Anyone over 18 years old, who has not had their blood pressure measured in the last year is eligible to attend a Welsh measurement session at venues including gyms, pharmacies, shopping centres, workplaces, universities and other public spaces – a full list is available on www.mmmwales.com