Free blood pressure checks on offer across Wales

People across Wales are being offered free blood pressure checks to help spot the warning signs of serious health problems, including strokes.

The Stroke Association and Rotary International are running the campaign to highlight that high blood pressure is a major contributing factor in strokes.

An estimated 7,000 people have a stroke each year in Wales and there are more than 65,000 stroke survivors living in Wales.

It's believed 40% of strokes could be prevented each year if people checked their blood pressure and took steps to control it.

Today, on Know Your Blood Pressure Day, medical students from Cardiff University were at the Capitol Centre in Cardiff to check people's blood pressure and offer advice.

Some facts and figures about strokes:

  • 7,000 people in Wales each year have a stroke

  • One in four strokes are fatal

  • High blood pressure contributes to over half of strokes

  • 9.2 million people in the UK have high blood pressure - 6.8 million of those are undiagnosed

John Murphy, from Port Talbot, suffered a stroke in 2010.

He'd been told he had high blood pressure three years earlier, but wasn't instructed further - and admits he'd "put it to the back of his mind".

He welcomes today's free health checks and warns that there could be people unknowingly with high blood pressure who are 'ticking timebombs'.

Get checked. I've had a stroke - my life has completely changed. I have to walk with a stick. There's certain things that I can't do now. My left arm is completely paralysed. A lot of physios say "What's your main goal?" And I'll say: "I'd like to be able to put my socks on". I don't want to be a pianist - I just want to put my socks on. And when that's taken away from you, being able to do something like that... it's not good. So get yourself checked.

John Murphy

For more information on blood pressure and strokes, visit the Stroke Association website.