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Auckland blood pressures of concern

Auckland blood pressures of concern

11 November 2009

The Stroke Foundation is concerned that over a third of Aucklanders who had a recent blood pressure check showed raised blood pressure levels – far more than was expected.

To mark Stroke Awareness Week, the Stroke Foundation, St John and Lions offered free blood pressure checks at over 100 supermarkets throughout the country on Saturday 12 September.

More than 2100 Aucklanders took the test, and 38 percent were found to have elevated blood pressure – defined as blood pressures of 140 systolic or higher and 90 diastolic or higher.

Blood pressure that is consistently above 140 over 90 is considered to be high. Normal blood pressure is around 120 over 80. In general, the lower blood pressure is, the better.

Nationally, around 12,000 people had their blood pressure checked, with 45 percent of results found to be above normal.

Stroke is our second largest cause of death. About 8000 New Zealanders have strokes each year, and one third of these are caused by high blood pressure. The Stroke Foundation encourages people to have their blood pressure checked regularly.

According to the 2002/03 New Zealand Health Survey, which used self-reported data, one in five New Zealanders were thought to have high blood pressure.

However, findings from these recent checks suggest rates may be much higher than previously thought.

ENDS

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