A West Yorkshire project designed to reduce the number of strokes and heart attacks across the region has resulted in nearly 1,000 more patients having their blood pressure controlled.

The West Yorkshire and Harrogate’s Healthy Hearts project aims to reduce the number of people affected by heart disease across West Yorkshire and Harrogate by 10% by 2021, resulting in 1,100 fewer incidents such as heart attacks and strokes.

High blood pressure is common, affecting at least one quarter of adults in the UK. It often has no symptoms, but when found, is one of the most preventable causes of early death.  According to studies, lowering blood pressure can reduce the risk of major cardiovascular disease events such as coronary heart disease, and heart failure.

Dr Youssef Beaini, Clinical Lead for the project said: “We have been working with local GPs to help identify patients with undiagnosed high blood pressure and improve their treatment. We are really encouraged by the early result we are seeing and that is all down to the hard work of GPs and nurses on the front line.

“If you have high blood pressure, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. This means that you may be at risk of a heart attack or a stroke. You may also be at risk of damage to the blood vessels in your kidneys or eyes. The higher your blood pressure is, the greater your risk becomes.

“We know we have a long way to go and estimate that there are over 40,000 patients across the region, that we still need to tackle. If we do, we believe that we can prevent around 700 heart attacks and strokes across West Yorkshire and Harrogate, saving the NHS approximately £8m.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, Healthy Hearts Clinical Lead for NHS Greater Huddersfield and North Kirklees CCGs added: “If you don’t already know your blood pressure, it’s worth getting checked out.  Many community pharmacists offer free blood pressure checks or you can visit your GP surgery. High blood pressure can be controlled and there are lots of things that we can all do to reduce the risks that lead to heart attacks and strokes. It’s never too late to make changes to your lifestyle and start looking after your heart.”

For more information about how you can reduce your risk of heart attack and stroke visit www.westyorkshireandharrogatehealthyhearts.co.uk