19 July 2024

Stroke Foundation’s free blood pressure check-up van is coming near you

The Stroke Foundation’s mobile vans with a health professional team are coming near you for a free blood pressure and pulse check up, starting today.

The Stroke Foundation- a charitable organisation that focuses on the prevention of and recovery from stroke, has launched its annual Blood Pressure Check Road Trip from today to mark the World Hypertension Day (May 17).

The vans, which are sponsored by Ryman Healthcare, will be on the road for 8 weeks and, in partnership with Foodstuffs NZ, will be visiting PAK’nSAVE supermarkets starting today 17 May. 

Communities across the North Island can visit these vans for free to screen for high blood pressure and hypertension.

Up to one-fifth of New Zealanders have high blood pressure, which is a leading contributor to stroke. Some people can go years without knowing they’re suffering from high blood pressure as it often has no symptoms.

Foundation’s vans will travel across N. Island, wef 17 May (Photo courtesy/SF)

Stroke is the leading cause of disability and the second-biggest single cause of death in New Zealand for all adults. As many as 2,000 Kiwis die from stroke every year (2018), and a stroke is experienced every hour in New Zealand.

“When we talk about strokes being avoidable, this is our primary concern,” says Jo Lambert, Chief Executive of the Stroke Foundation. “High blood pressure can be controlled, but only if people know they have it, otherwise they carry the risk of stroke with them constantly.

“Every time we visit a community, as many as 3% of the people we test are at high risk of stroke. That’s 300 people for every 10,000 people we screen, that are in hypertensive crisis. A hypertensive crisis is when high blood pressure is so acute that someone is in critical danger of experiencing a stroke.”

The motive behind this free mobile road trip is to make blood screening more accessible and the resultant health results may reduce strokes and save lives.

“Without this critical piece of health information, many New Zealanders are oblivious to the danger they face…Our aim is to get this number down,” says Jo Lambert. “Routine blood pressure checks need to increase significantly if we are ever to reduce the number of devastating strokes in Aotearoa.”

High blood pressure is more common in Māori, Pacific Islanders and Asians, with these population groups experiencing more strokes. The Stroke Foundation would like to see as many people during the Road Trip as possible and is encouraging whānau to visit together.

In Hamilton, the Foundation’s van will be at the Clarence St. PAK’nSAVE car park on 27 May from 9am – 12noon and from 1-4pm at their Mill St. car park. Information about other locations across North Island is available here.

  • According to the latest population statistics, there could be more than 1 million New Zealanders living with high blood pressure
  • An estimated third of people with high blood pressure, between 300,000 to 400,000 people, are unaware that they are at increased risk of stroke
  • 75% of all strokes are preventable and high blood pressure is the leading risk factor for stroke, that is modifiable
  • Diets high in salt are a leading cause of high blood pressure, with New Zealanders estimated to eat double the recommended amount of salt in their daily diet. Other common causes of high blood pressure include being overweight, smoking, drinking too much alcohol, not exercising and diabetes (Source: Stroke Foundation)

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