NEW Public Health data shows that 63 per cent of people in St Helens with high blood pressure have been diagnosed – but that a further 20,000 residents are living with the condition and don't even know it.

In St Helens, there are a number of ongoing initiatives to encourage people to have their blood pressure checked in general practice, pharmacies and with Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service as untreated it can lead to serious health complications such as strokes and heart attacks - as well as increase the risk of kidney disease and dementia.

Examples of initiatives include training people to become Blood Pressure Champions, offering blood pressure checks in the community, and promoting campaigns such as Public Health England’s One You - Know Your Heart Age Campaign, which in 2018 saw more than 100 residents take the Heart Age Test, which determines whether someone's heart is at a higher age than their actual age, and receive a blood pressure check.

Across the borough, there are a number of ways that people can get their blood pressure checked.

A Wellpoint Kiosk is available in the Smokefree St Helens Hub in the Hardshaw Centre which can offer blood pressure and heart age checks.

It is available to use during the hub’s opening hours Monday to Friday from 9am to 5pm (closed on Tuesdays from 1pm), and Saturday 10am to 2pm.

If you are aged between 40 and 74 years, you may be eligible for a free NHS Health Check with your GP or the Healthy Living Team.

The check includes lifestyle questions and measures such as height, weight, blood pressure and cholesterol.

Since April 2018, more than 500 people have been found to have high blood pressure during their health check.

St Helens Council’s cabinet member for better health and community voice, Cllr Jeanette Banks, said: “As an individual, having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of heart attacks and stroke.

"In St Helens we are doing lots of great work to raise awareness and identify people with high blood pressure. I would encourage people to get their blood pressure checked; it takes just a few minutes and could be a life saver.”

The following top tips from the British Heart Foundation can help to reduce blood pressure:

1. Regular physical activity

2. Keep to a healthy weight

3. Eat a healthy balanced diet

4. Cut down on salt

5. Don’t drink too much

6. Take your medicines as prescribed

For more information visit

For more information about the FREE NHS Health Check, contact your GP or the Healthy Living Team on 0300 3000103.