British Heart Foundation encourages crucial blood pressure checks with farmers

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British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland has been working with the NI Agri-Rural Health Forum to encourage thousands of farmers here to get their blood pressure checked.

BHF NI partnered the Forum to help promote the Farm Family Health Checks team’s visit to farms and marts across communities over the past year to drive the importance of raising awareness of blood pressure.

Research involving Irish livestock farmers found that around 74% of screened male farmers had four or more risk factors for cardiovascular disease and the message shared by BHF NI around blood pressure is ‘check it, change it, control it’.

This partnership led to over 500 additional blood pressure checks being carried out with over one in five being high or very high, resulting in many of these farmers being advised to see their GP.

Health Minister Robin Swann and DAERA Minister Andrew Muir are pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside them are Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, Simon Best, BHF NI Ambassador and arable farmer and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI. (Pic: Freelance)Health Minister Robin Swann and DAERA Minister Andrew Muir are pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside them are Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, Simon Best, BHF NI Ambassador and arable farmer and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI. (Pic: Freelance)
Health Minister Robin Swann and DAERA Minister Andrew Muir are pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside them are Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, Simon Best, BHF NI Ambassador and arable farmer and Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI. (Pic: Freelance)

Dr Rebecca Orr, Rural GP Registrar and Chair of the Northern Ireland Agri-Rural Health Forum commented: “We are delighted to celebrate the past year’s achievements made possible through the Forum’s partnership with the British Heart Foundation.

“Tailored resources are now available to everyone in the industry and several successful engagement events have taken place including the recent mart Mission FarmStrong roadshows which also raised money for British Heart Foundation's vital work.”

She added: “It is thanks to BHF NI we can continue to address rural health inequalities and we hope to continue working together in future to keep health at the centre of all farm businesses in NI.”

Fearghal McKinney, Head of British Heart Foundation Northern Ireland said: “Our aim over the past year working with the Agri-Rural Health Forum has been to promote the primary prevention of cardiovascular disease amongst farmers by encouraging them to monitor and control their blood pressure.

Health Minister Robin Swann is pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside the Minister are John McClenaghan, UFU deputy president, Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, new RUAS President John Henning, Simon Best, Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI, Laura Taylor from the Public Health Agency and Christina Faulkner from Farm Family Health Checks. (Pic: Freelance)Health Minister Robin Swann is pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside the Minister are John McClenaghan, UFU deputy president, Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, new RUAS President John Henning, Simon Best, Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI, Laura Taylor from the Public Health Agency and Christina Faulkner from Farm Family Health Checks. (Pic: Freelance)
Health Minister Robin Swann is pictured at the NI Agri-Rural health forum annual event at the Balmoral Show in support of the work of the Forum and British Heart Foundation NI encouraging farmers here to get their blood pressure checked. Pictured alongside the Minister are John McClenaghan, UFU deputy president, Rebecca Orr, Chair of NI Agri-Rural Health Forum, new RUAS President John Henning, Simon Best, Fearghal McKinney, head of BHF NI, Laura Taylor from the Public Health Agency and Christina Faulkner from Farm Family Health Checks. (Pic: Freelance)

“It’s encouraging that we received a strong response from farmers to the additional blood pressure checks offered at the marts and we will be continuing to help promote better health and wellbeing amongst those living and working in the agri-rural industry.”