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PHE launches campaign to ‘detect and treat millions more’ with high blood pressure

GPs and health professionals will have to conduct more blood pressure and cholesterol checks as part of a new campaign by Public Health England and NHS England.

The new campaign is aimed at preventing or delaying cardiovascular disease by improving detection and treatment of its major causes – high blood pressure, cholesterol and atrial fibrillation.

PHE and NHSE want to increase the proportion of 40- to 74-year-old patients who have received a formal CVD risk check and a high cholestrol check – from 49% now to 75% by 2029.  

PHE estimates more than five million people are currently living with undiagnosed high blood pressure in England.

The two organisations also want to ensure millions more people with high blood pressure are detected and treated – so that 80% of people with hypertension are diagnosed by 2029, instead of the current 57% (6.8 million people).

In addition, by 2029 they want to see 45% of 40- to 74-year-old patients at high risk of developing CVD to be treated with statins – up from the current 35%.

As part of the campaign, launched today, people aged 40 to 74 years old are being urged to get their free NHS Health Check, which helps detect the early warning signs of CVD.

It is hoped the new efforts to tackle CVD will help meet the NHS long-term plan’s goal to prevent 150,000 heart attacks, strokes and dementia cases within the next 10 years.

The new targets were launched today by PHE and NHSE alongside a coalition of more than 40 organisations – including charities and the RCGP – that make up the National CVD Prevention System Leadership Forum.

PHE chief executive Duncan Selbie said: ‘We know our PIN numbers but not the numbers that save our lives.

‘Thousands of heart attacks and strokes can be prevented by more people knowing their blood pressure and cholesterol numbers and by seeking help early. Prevention is always better than cure.’

Today’s campaign follows a local pilot of PHE’s controversial ‘heart age’ test, which sent nearly 800 patients to their GP over two months.

Last year, Pulse revealed funding from charities, public health bodies and pharmaceutical companies for disease awareness campaigns were driving healthy patients to their GP.