1 in 4 with high blood pressure undiagnosed

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RESIDENTS is Wigan are more likely to suffer from high blood pressure, new figures have shown.

Wigan is in the worst 25 per cent for lifestyle factors that cause high blood pressure (hypertension) according to The National Cardiovascular Intelligence Network (NCIN), in partnership with the Public Health England (PHE) blood pressure team, has launched a series of hypertension profiles for each local authority area.

Wigan’s profile shows that due higher levels of alcohol consumption, adult obesity and physical inactivity, its residents are more at risk of hypertension than other areas.

These lifestyle risk factors for hypertension have been combined and weighted to produce an overall ranking for each local authority, with Wigan coming 288th out of 326 local authorities.

However, the profile also shows that rates of diagnosis and the number of people who have their condition under control is higher than other areas.

The profile estimates that 81,300 of people in the borough hypertension, of which 50,300 have been diagnosed and 42,000 have their high blood pressure under control.

Dr Tim Dalton, local GP and Chair of NHS Wigan Borough CCG, said: “In Wigan Borough our population is at a significantly higher risk than most places in England of having high blood pressure because we don’t tend to look after our health well.

“Despite this, we do better than the national average at diagnosing hypertension and helping our patients to manage it and we have some of the best outcomes for patients with hypertension in the country.

“We and our GP practices work hard to make sure that patients get a diagnosis and get the support and medication they need.”

The PHE has said that they know from international comparison that there is significant scope for improvement.

In Canada, for example, seven out of every 10 adults with high blood pressure are both diagnosed and managed to recommended levels whereas in England this only four out of 10.

In Wigan the percentage of hypertension detected and controlled to 150/90 is 51.7 per cent.

In order to match the achievement of Canada a further 11,700 people in the borough would need to receive treatment and have their blood pressure controlled, according to the profile.

High blood pressure is one of the leading risk factors for premature death and disability, and can lead to stroke, heart attack, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and dementia.

Conditions caused by high blood pressure cost the NHS over £2 billion every year. By reducing the blood pressure of the nation as a whole, £850 million of NHS and social care spend could be avoided over 10 years.

Lorraine Oldridge, Director of NCIN, PHE, said: “We’re proud to be launching these profiles in order to help lower the prevalence of high blood pressure which still remains a public health problem across all regions in England.

“By providing hard data local authorities can see how they compare to nearby regions and set new targets to reduce their levels of hypertension amongst their population.”

Jamie Waterall, Chair of the Blood Pressure System Leadership Board, PHE, said: “Putting tailored interventions in place is key to ensure as many cases of high blood pressure as possible are diagnosed and monitored, and this is something we’re increasingly seeing from local authorities.

“Improving take-up of the NHS Health Check, a systematic testing and risk assessment programme for 40 to 74 year olds, offers a major route for increasing the detection of undiagnosed hypertension.”