Farmers' health on the agenda
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He made the call at the Balmoral Show at a panel discussion organised by the Northern Ireland Agri-Rural Health Forum looking at high blood pressure among farmers and those living in rural communities.
An estimated 400,000 people across NI have high blood pressure. 280,000 of these have been diagnosed with high blood pressure by their GP but as many of 120,000 are undiagnosed.
Speaking at the event, Head of British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland, Fearghal McKinney, said: “Many people think rural life is idyllic and care-free but for those living and working on farms, it can be a high-pressure environment which can impact a person’s health.
“Around half of the heart attacks and strokes in Northern Ireland each year are associated with high blood pressure, so it is vital that people in farming, agricultural and rural communities get their blood pressure checked regularly.
“The age profile of farmers and those involved in the agriculture industry is rising across Northern Ireland and the risk of high blood pressure increases as we get older, so it is even more important that older members of our farming and agricultural communities keep an eye on their blood pressure.
“People can get their blood pressure tested at the GP or at many pharmacies but it can sometimes be difficult for those living in rural areas to access these so it is crucial that service providers work with rural groups such as the NI Agri-Rural Health Forum to support the great work they do in ensuring greater access to healthcare.”
About the British Heart Foundation: The British Heart Foundation fund around £100 million of research each year into all heart and circulatory diseases and the things that cause them. Heart diseases. Stroke. Vascular dementia. Diabetes. They're all connected, and they're all under their microscope.
Their vision is a world free from the fear of heart and circulatory diseases. A world without heartbreak.