A PHARMACIST in Wroughton is offering free blood pressure checks as part of a national campaign to combat cardiovascular disease and promote healthy hearts.

St John Pharmacy, in St Johns Street, will be giving quick tests during Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers! Week, which runs from Monday until September 16.

Pharmacist Nick Jephson is urging the community to get tested after statistics from campaign supporters All About Health revealed a third of people from the south west would only consider themselves at risk if they were overweight.

“That is not the only cause,” said Nick. “Diet and lifestyle can also have a big impact. “Eating too much salt or not taking enough exercise can also cause high blood pressure which is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease.”

Visitors can drop in to be tested, get advice and be handed heart stickers to show they know their blood pressure numbers.

Blood Pressure UK say monitoring is the only way to detect high blood pressure, as there are usually no signs or symptoms. Mr Jephson said: “It is a silent condition and people adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude.

“We want to make the whole community aware of the importance of having regular checks. People don’t need to make an appointment and workers can pop in on their lunch break.”

Mr Jephson said people should be monitored every year and more regularly if pressure is high or there is a history of the condition in the family. They should also record their numbers to note any sudden changes in their next check-up.

A new blood pressure smart phone application is launching to coincide with Know Your Numbers! Week and will be available for free download via www.allabouthealth.org.uk to help track results.

It’s important to know your numbers to monitor any changes. This is particularly true of those who have low blood pressure, as a normal second reading could indicate a rise for them.

Nick said: “We encourage all our customers to be aware of their numbers and monitor changes.” The new application will flag up such changes, which can be then raised with their pharmacist and it also acts as a reminder for their next blood pressure check.