Know your blood pressure

We offered free blood pressure checks to Londoners across the capital on Saturday 17 April to raise their awareness of stroke.

We ran 19 health fairs where staff were offered free blood pressure and pulse rate checks, basic lifestyle advice, and provided information about how to recognise a stroke using a simple test.

The Stroke Association, which worked with us on the initiative, says that around 40 per cent of all strokes could be prevented if people with undiagnosed high blood pressure were identified and treated.

Since February 2011, eight specialist stroke centres have been operating around the clock in London. Patients who are taken there will receive quick access to a specialist scan and expert treatment, which will increase their chance of survival and cut the risk of long-term disability.

Stroke facts

  • A stroke is a brain attack which happens when the blood supply to part of the brain is cut off
  • High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke
  • Stroke is the third leading cause of death and the largest single cause of disability in England
  • Somebody in the UK has a stroke every five minutes
  • Stroke is more common in men than women – but more women who have strokes die from them compared to men
  • The brain ages 3.6 years and loses 120m cells for every hour a stroke is left untreated