South Scotland Msps Team Up To Promote Blood Pressure Checks To Prevent Strokes

South Scotland MSPs Emma Harper and Colin Smyth have joined forces to promote the work of the Stroke Association, the UK’s leading stroke charity.


Stroke, a disease that affects the arteries leading to and within the brain, is the third biggest killer in Scotland, with approximately 4,500 Scots dying each year where cerebrovascular disease (CVD) is the underlying cause. However, over the last decade the number of new cases of CVD have reduced by 14% and mortality rates for the disease have fallen steadily.


Each year there are around 15,000 strokes in Scotland, and charities such as the Stroke Association provide support to the nation’s 124,000 stroke survivors.


The charity visited the Scottish Parliament last week to engage with MSPs, and nurse-turned-politician, Emma Harper, took the opportunity to take fellow MSP, Colin Smyth’s blood pressure as part of Stroke Association’s awareness drive.


Ms. Harper said:


“As a nurse I was able to check my colleague’s blood pressure with my own stethoscope and sphygmomanometer to support the Stroke Association’s awareness campaign at the Scottish Parliament, and to get the message out there that high blood pressure is preventable and can reduce someone’s chances of a stroke developing.
“In the vast majority of cases, strokes are avoidable and are associated with modifiable risk factors, such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol, being overweight, smoking and high alcohol consumption.”


Colin Smyth MSP added:


Stroke costs Scotland an estimated £1.6 billion a year, and this is predicted to triple by 2035. Stroke brings with it many challenges to our Health Service, as the condition is a leading cause of adult disability, with almost two thirds of stroke survivors leaving hospital with a disability, with one third affected by communication problems.
“The Stroke Association is a fantastic charity funding life-saving research, providing accessible information and a free Stroke Helping for stroke survivors and their families, as well as raising awareness of the disease and offering stroke grants to those in need.”

Colin Oliver, the charity’s Public Affairs Officer, said:


“High blood pressure is the highest single preventable risk factor for stroke. Simply by knowing your blood pressure, you could potentially prevent a stroke from occurring.
“We have been delighted to see MSPs from across political parties join with us in raising awareness of blood pressure checks, and stroke Scotland more generally.”


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