Blood pressure van back on road

Employees and doctors at Epworth Geelong will be the first to have a potentially life-saving roadside blood pressure check, with the re-launch of the Ryman Healthcare Blood Pressure or BP Van today.

The BP Van is back on the road after a 13 month break during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The timing coincides with World Hypertension Day, Monday May 17.

Hypertension or high blood pressure is the single largest risk factor for stroke – a disease that strikes the brain and can change lives in an instant.

Stroke Foundation Executive Director Marketing John De Rango welcomed the return of the Ryman Healthcare BP Van and said it is a wonderful stroke prevention initiative.

“The Ryman Healthcare BP van visits workplaces and community events, providing free and easy five minute health checks, reaching a wide cross section of people,” Mr De Rango said.

“These health checks can be a real eye opener for some because high blood pressure can easily go unnoticed. It often has no immediate symptoms, yet puts extra stress on blood vessel walls over time. This can cause them to narrow or break down, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease.

“The only way to know if you have high blood pressure is by getting a BP check.”

More than 33,000 people in the Geelong region are living with high blood pressure, many unknowingly, putting themselves at serious and unnecessary risk of stroke.

However, it is not all bad news, high blood pressure can be prevented or managed through medication and maintaining a healthy, active lifestyle.

Ryman Healthcare Community Relations Team Leader Denise Thompson said they are excited to get the BP Van up and running again to empower people to understand their stroke risk and take action to manage and reduce it.

“The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic taught us the true value of making our health a priority,” Ms Thompson said.

“The health checks include a stroke and type 2 diabetes risk assessment. Following the check participants are emailed their personal results and relevant health recommendations, including advice to see their doctor if necessary.

“The BP Van mobile health checks will save lives.”

The Ryman Healthcare BP Van visits workplaces, shopping centres, retirement villages and community groups or events by request.

The month of May also marks Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check. Stroke Foundation is urging residents of Geelong and surrounds to follow the lead of the Epworth Geelong staff and have a blood pressure check themselves at their local pharmacy or General Practitioner (GP) and to make a habit of having regular checks.

High blood pressure can impact people of all ages. Research shows 48 percent of strokes could be prevented if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.

Major contributors to high blood pressure include poor diet (especially high salt intake), being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption and insufficient physical activity. It can be managed with medication and by living a healthy, active lifestyle.

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