THOUSANDS of Brits could be eligible for a free home test kit to detect a silent killer condition.
Lifesaving monitors will be handed out by the NHS to 220,000 people who have been known to have high blood pressure.
The largescale giveaway is designed to catch more fatal conditions earlier and save thousands of lives.
It could stop around 2,200 heart attacks and almost 3,300 strokes over five years.
Dr Nikki Kanani, GP and national medical director of primary care for the NHS said: “It’s vital that people with high blood pressure keep track of their levels, so they can report any significant changes that could indicate a potentially deadly stroke or heart attack, and this simple but lifesaving innovation offers people efficient and convenient care.
“By using these monitors, and reporting the readings to local teams, patients are able to quickly and easily update GP teams with a regular snapshot of their blood pressure health. These simple checks will help us to save lives.”
More than 65,000 blood pressure monitors have already been delivered to patients and are similar to those used in GP practices.
Patients wrap the small machine around their upper arm to measure their blood pressure reading and send the reading to their GP.
Dr Shahed Ahmad, national clinical director for CVD prevention said: “Getting these monitors into the homes of patients that need them is a really important step – we want people to feel empowered to monitor their own health and to understand their own conditions better.
“With thousands of monitors already being sent around the country, this initiative will provide GPs with more data than ever to deliver first-rate care.”
Raised blood pressure is the biggest cause of death in the world – killing more than 10 million every year.
If your blood pressure is too high – which is known as hypertension – it puts extra strain on your arteries (and your heart) and this may lead to heart attacks and strokes.
Some symptoms can include severe headaches, fatigue or confusion, vision problems and chest pains.
Roger, a patient aged 75 from Oxford, said: “I was grateful to receive a free blood pressure monitor from my GP surgery recently, which is simple and easy to use.
“I’d visited my doctor for a regular check-up and was diagnosed with high blood pressure.
“After discussion with the GP, I feel I understand my blood pressure better and feel happy I can monitor it at home and send it to the GP without going across town.
“I think it’s a great idea and a handy way of keeping an eye on my health.”
Health and Social Care Secretary, Sajid Javid, said: “We know technology can transform the care the NHS provides to patients, and these innovative blood pressure devices will give people the tools they need to monitor their own health at home.
“This is just one way we’re backing the health service to harness the potential of new technology, to support hardworking staff and save thousands of lives.”
It is advised that all adults over 40 have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years.
If you do not have your own home monitor, you can get your blood pressure checked at several places.
From October 2021, every NHS pharmacy in England is now able to provide the lifesaving checks to people aged 40 or over.
You can also get it checked at an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults in England aged 40-74, at home or at your local GP surgery.
More information about the blood pressure test and home blood pressure monitoring can be found on the NHS website.
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