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Welsh university leads UK and Ireland in tackling biggest global silent killer

​News | 17 May, 2021 World Hypertension Day

Cardiff Met has teamed up with British Heart Foundation (Cymru) (BHF Cymru) to lead the fight against the number one cause of preventable deaths worldwide.

This is all part of the International Society of Hypertension’s ‘May Measurement Month’ (MMM) – a global venture which has been running since 2017. The campaign aims to identify people in the community with undiagnosed hypertension, make them aware of their condition and help them deal with this health issue. This year’s aim to screen one million people worldwide makes it the largest ever global blood pressure screening campaign.

In a bid to raise awareness of the risk of high blood pressure in Wales, people with home blood pressure monitors are being reminded to check their blood pressure and that of members of their social bubble between May and November.

Reader and Research & Innovation lead of the Cardiovascular Physiology Research Group at Cardiff Met, Dr Barry McDonnell, is leading the UK and Ireland’s ‘May Measurement Month’ campaign as a representative of the British and Irish Hypertension Society and said:

"Even when factoring in the current Covid pandemic, hypertension remains the biggest single contributing risk factor for worldwide death and burden of disease. Due to the absence of high blood pressure symptoms, many people simply don’t know they have it – which can lead to heart disease, stroke, kidney disease and ultimately death.

"Linking up with BHF Cymru is especially helpful this year, as it allows us to reach people in the community that otherwise may not have their blood pressure routinely checked, especially during the pandemic. Critically, working with BHF Cymru also allows us to make every contact count, helping Cardiff Met play an active role in the community and boosting awareness of hypertension. On a global level, this data will be used to motivate governments to improve local screening, treatment and facilities."

MMM’s Chief Investigator, Professor Neil Poulter, added:

"I am delighted to announce that ‘May Measurement Month’ is back in 2021! This annual campaign was initiated in 2017 to raise awareness of the importance of blood pressure measurement at the individual and population level all around the world.

"By so doing, MMM will continue to contribute to a reduction in millions of adverse cardiovascular events caused globally each year by raised blood pressure."

Head of BHF Cymru, Adam Fletcher, said:

"Getting your blood pressure under control is one of the most important things you can do to reduce your risk of having a heart attack a stroke. Thousands of adults in Wales have undiagnosed high blood pressure, so will not know that they are at risk.

"The only way to know whether you have high blood pressure is to have it measured. So, it’s important to check your blood pressure. It only takes five minutes and can be done in a number of ways including in the comfort of your own home. It could ultimately save your life."

A paper by Dr McDonnell about the most recent ‘May Measurement Month’ data from the 2019 UK and Ireland campaign is about to be published by The European Heart Journal Supplements – one of the world’s top medical journals.

This paper shows how the 2019 campaign screened 10,194 people across the UK and Ireland and highlighted that 66 per cent of participants with high blood pressure were unaware of their condition.
Further Information:

This project, led by the Cardiff Met’s Cardiovascular Physiology Research Group, is part of the Global Academies, the Centre for Health, Activity and Wellbeing Research (CAWR), and the Cardiovascular Health and Ageing research theme.

Please visit www.maymeasure.com for more details.