Most British Women Unaware of Lifestyle Stroke Risks
Nov 12, 2008 - 6:20:34 AM

A new survey, carried out by GfK NOP for UK charity The Stroke Association has revealed that 60 per cent of women don’t even know what their blood pressure is and 67 per cent are unaware what an ‘optimal’ reading should be. The survey also found that while more than a fifth of women surveyed had been prescribed medication to control their blood pressure, more than half of these said they did not take their tablets regularly, putting themselves at risk of death or disability from a stroke.

When asked about taking measures to protect themselves from a stroke, a second survey found that 83 per cent of the women did not know that lack of exercise increases the risk. Another 72 per cent of women did not recognise that a poor diet is a risk factor and 71 per cent were unaware that alcohol also increases the risk of stroke.

Joe Korner, Director of External Affairs, explains: “Many women will be blissfully unaware that they may have high blood pressure caused by the lifestyle choices they make. Regular, excessive drinking, smoking, poor diet and lack of exercise mean that women are pushing their blood pressure to dangerous levels without realising it.

“People do not realise that by making very small lifestyle changes they can dramatically reduce the risk of having a stroke. For example, moderate exercise can decrease the chances of having a stroke by 27 per cent and by eating your ‘five-a-day’ you can reduce the risk by a quarter,” Mr Korner said.

As part of its drive to raise awareness, The Stroke Association is urging working age women to be aware of how their lifestyle impacts on the risk of having a stroke and to have their blood pressure tested regularly. An optimal blood pressure reading is 120/80 mmHg. High blood pressure is defined as a reading above 140/90mmHg. Blood pressure testing can be carried out at a GP surgery by the GP or practice nurse. However gyms and pharmacies can also carry out blood pressure testing.

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