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Controlling high blood pressure helps protect your heart health

Posted: 17th May 2022

To mark May Measure Month, which aims to educate and increase awareness of hypertension, commonly known as high blood pressure, we are looking back at the work done so far to support GP practices across our region to reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease, in particular around hypertension.

High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if untreated, it increases the risk of people developing serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes. According to the latest figures in West Yorkshire alone there are more than 69,545 people with high blood pressure that is untreated or whose blood pressure is not under control. This means that in the next three years more than 1,040 people are at risk of a stroke or heart attack.

In West Yorkshire we are working with the West Yorkshire Health and Care Partnership to deliver the Healthy Hearts initiative, that provides extra support to GPs to identify patients who might need help to control their hypertension. Initiatives like Healthy Hearts are critical to raising awareness of the importance of looking after your heart and spotting early signs of a heart attack or stroke.

The Healthy Hearts team is working closely with the local NHS Commissioning Groups (CCGs), third sector organisations and community pharmacists to better support patients with a high risk of cardiovascular disease. The focus is on identifying people with undiagnosed high blood pressure and provide GPs with the latest advice and guidance on the most effective treatments.

As a result of this work, almost 22,000 additional patients have been added to the hypertension register to date, where they have received a high blood pressure diagnosis and will thereby receive appropriate support. Meanwhile, 17,000 patients are now receiving treatment to help prevent future heart attacks or strokes.

Jenny Hamer, Programme Lead at Yorkshire & Humber AHSN, said: “Early detection and treatment of hypertension can help patients live longer, healthier lives. It is important people understand that it is never too late to look after their heart and there are lots of things people can do to prevent heart disease including leading healthier lives by eating more fruit and vegetables, drinking less alcohol, stopping smoking and starting to exercise more.”

We are also leading on the regional implementation of the national AHSN Network’s Blood Pressure Optimisation programme across Yorkshire and Humber working with our three Integrate Care Systems (ICS), expanding on the work of the Healthy Hearts initiative. A range of support tools and resources have been made available for GP practices to use and adopt to prioritise those patients whose blood pressure maybe at sub-optimal levels or poorly controlled due to the pandemic. These maybe used to compliment or assist with local searches that may already be in use or available across the networks.

Please reach out to us for a more detailed discussion on how we may be able to help you reduce the risks of cardiovascular disease in your area. A list of contact names, and the PCN areas covered, are listed below:

Humber and North Yorkshire

James Bowman (Programme Manager)

West Yorkshire

Pete Waddingham (Programme Manager)

South Yorkshire

Ruth Pitman-Jones (Programme Manager)