The Stroke Foundation is urging Hunter residents to check their blood pressure after the region recorded 194 strokes in 2020.
Australians keen to make a healthy start to 2021 are being urged to have a blood pressure check to reduce their risk.
Stroke Foundation Clinical Council Chair Professor Bruce Campbell said having your blood pressure checked was easy, painless and potentially lifesaving, but was too often overlooked.
“I know the new year is a time for resolutions and a fresh start for many,” he said.
“This year, rather than jumping straight into long-term health goals like getting fit or losing a few kilos, start with a blood pressure check at your doctor or pharmacy.
“It’s like checking your car is in good working order before a big road trip.”
High blood pressure, otherwise known as hypertension, is a key risk factor for stroke and the most modifiable.
New Stroke Foundation figures revealed more than 4.7 million Australians were living with high blood pressure and most were unaware.
Professor Campbell said the only way to know if you have high blood pressure was to have it checked regularly.
“High blood pressure has no immediate symptoms yet over time it puts extra stress on blood vessel walls,” he said.
“This can cause them to narrow or break down, eventually leading to a stroke.”
“High blood pressure is also a risk for other cardiovascular conditions and increases the risk of death from the coronavirus (COVID-19).”
High blood pressure can impact people of all ages, but it can be managed through medication, minimising salt intake and living a healthy, active lifestyle.
“Research has shown the number of strokes would be almost cut in half (48 percent reduction) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated,” Professor Campbell said.
“Give yourself the best chance possible to live a healthy life in 2021 and beyond.
“Learn about your risk and continue to monitor your blood pressure regularly.”