QUEENSLANDERS are being urged to take action to protect themselves from stroke by taking part in Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check.
The Stroke Foundation is delivering free health checks throughout April, kicking off at Westfield Chermside today. Stroke Foundation Queensland Executive Officer Libby Dunstan said it was easy for Queenslanders to get involved, with more than 800 Know your numbers pharmacies and community sites offering the checks throughout the month.
"Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check is all about getting people to take five minutes out of their day for a quick, free and potentially lifesaving health check," Ms Dunstan said.
"Around 800,000 Queenslanders are living with high blood pressure putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke, and many don't even know it.
"Blood pressure needs to be measured regularly as there are generally no real red flags if you're living with high blood pressure: it is known as the silent killer for a reason.
"We're urging Queenslanders to come along to a community event in their area or visit their local Know your numbers site for a free health check today," she said.
Blood pressure is one of the most important and modifiable risk factors for stroke.
By checking blood pressure and completing a simple questionnaire health professionals will be able to help identify people who may be at risk of stroke and other chronic illnesses.
Those at risk will be referred to their doctor for advice on how to lower their risk and improve their health.
Priceline Pharmacist Mr Torren Powell said they were proud to take part in Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check to help Australians avoid a life-threatening stroke.
"As a health professional, I want to help Queenslanders avoid having a devastating and life-changing stroke. Too many people are unaware that most strokes are preventable," Mr Powell said.
"There are simple things we can all do to reduce our risk of stroke - manage your blood pressure, eat healthy, exercise, don't smoke and limit your alcohol consumption.
"High blood pressure is among the most important known risk factors for stroke, causing damage to blood vessel walls, which may eventually lead to a stroke.
"I'm joining the Stroke Foundation in calling on Queenslanders to take advantage of a free health check. It will only take five minutes and could save your life,'' he said.
Ms Dunstan said this was the third year the Stroke Foundation was delivering Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check and typically around a quarter of people checked were found to be at risk.
"One in six people will have a stroke in their lifetime; these people are you, your family, your friends, your colleagues,'' Ms Dunstan said.
"Each year during Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check we discover an alarming number of Queenslanders with high blood pressure who have no idea they are at risk of stroke.
"Stroke does not discriminate - it impacts men and women at any age, even children and babies. A Know your numbers health check is a simple, free and non-invasive way to discover your stroke risk.
"Join us in Australia's Blood Pressure Check this April - A fast and simple check may save your life."
Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check starts today with free checks to be provided at more than 800 sites across Queensland including selected community events, Know your numbers sites and Priceline Pharmacies nationally. To find your nearest site visit www.strokefoundation.com.au
What: Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check
Free checks will be provided at selected community events, Know your numbers sites and Priceline Pharmacies.
By checking blood pressure and completing a simple questionnaire, health professionals will be able to help identify people that may be at risk of stroke and related conditions. Those at risk will be referred to their doctor for advice on how to lower their risk and stay healthy.
When: 5 April - 6 May
Where: Australia's Biggest Blood Pressure Check locations:
Westfield Chermside: Tuesday 5 April - Sunday 10 April
Westfield Helensvale: Tuesday 12 April - Sunday 17 April
Queen Street Mall: Wednesday 27 April