Health conscious show visitors

L-R: Chris Henry, Ulster Rugby Player, and Gillian Parker, Communications and Marketing Manager at NICHS. Ulster Rugby Star Chris Henry was one of the many people who had his blood pressure checked by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke at the Balmoral Show.
L-R: Chris Henry, Ulster Rugby Player, and Gillian Parker, Communications and Marketing Manager at NICHS. Ulster Rugby Star Chris Henry was one of the many people who had his blood pressure checked by Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke at the Balmoral Show.

Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke have revealed that people were more aware of the importance of knowing their blood pressure at this year’s Balmoral Show in May.

The charity found that more visitors to the show were proactively asking for their blood pressure to be checked. Many people were returning to the charity’s stand for the second or third year in a row for their “annual” check.

Northern Ireland Chest Heart & Stroke measured 1081 people’s blood pressures over the four days of the Balmoral Show at their stand in the Eikon Exhibition Centre, an increase of 20% compared to 911 blood pressures at last year’s show. There was a 50:50 split between men and women. 18% were under 40, 45% were between 40 and 60, and 37% were over 60. The average age of those who had their blood pressure taken was 53.

27% of the people measured had a high blood pressure reading, which is a measurement above 140/90. Anyone whose blood pressure was showing a high measurement was given information on what changes could be made to lower it and advised to go to their GP.

The charity’s Director of Public Health, Fidelma Carter, said: “Many visitors to the Balmoral Show work in agriculture and tend to be very busy on the farm all year round, and so a visit to the GP for a simple blood pressure check may not always be a priority. So it’s wonderful to see more and more people taking an interest in their heart health and approaching our stand.”

Almost 40% of all adult deaths in Northern Ireland are caused by chest, heart or stroke illness. Just over 6000 people die each year from a chest, heart or stroke illness – that’s 16 every day. Each year almost 4,000 people are admitted to hospital in Northern Ireland with a stroke, and over 36,000 people are living with stroke and TIA, which is 2% of the population.

For more information visit www.nichs.org.uk/choosetobehealthy.