One in three residents revealed to have stroke risk symptoms as Failsworth optician hosts award-winning clinic

Date published: 30 October 2018

Failsworth residents received free blood pressure checks at a drop-in clinic, leading to one in three being advised to seek medical attention due to high readings.

The ‘Know Your Blood Pressure’ clinic was held at Vision Express at Tesco Failsworth store as part of an award-winning initiative between Vision Express and its charity partner the Stroke Association.

The aim of the event was to raise awareness of the risks associated with high blood pressure, which is the biggest modifiable risk factor for stroke.

Hosting the clinic was Stroke Association Volunteer Community Officer, Rebecca Murray.

She said: “My background is in charity communications but there’s something very special about the Stroke Association.

"All the volunteers are very passionate and the work we’re doing here today can really make a difference in people’s lives.

“Please don’t be afraid of getting your blood pressure checked.

"You can have no symptoms and still suffer a stroke.

"We are very friendly, and it only takes a couple of minutes so it’s definitely better to find out and be safe."

Vision Van optometrist Tariq Muneer has his blood pressure checked by Geoffrey Heathcote

The drop-in clinic comes at an important time for Failsworth as figures indicate a worrying outlook for vision in the area:

•             Over 1,600 people in the borough of Oldham are suffering from age-related macular degeneration (AMD). Research also shows almost 7,500 people have a heightened risk of developing AMD, due to drusen.

•             There are over 7,350 residents living with suspected glaucoma, the silent thief of sight.

Stroke Association Ambassador Geoffrey Heathcote (69) shared his experience of volunteering at the organisation.

Geoffrey said: “After my wife had a stroke in 2011 we were put in touch with the Stroke Association and they were absolutely fantastic with helping us.

"I wanted to give back, so I help run Stroke Cafes for survivors and carers to come together and share their experiences with each other.

"It’s like a huge family – when I first became a carer I felt so lost but now I have this support network where there’s always someone you can call for advice.”

He continued: “I’d urge everyone to get their blood pressure checked on a regular basis.

"Strokes can happen to anyone of any age and its important to be informed.”

Vision Express CEO Jonathan Lawson added: “Our partnership with the Stroke Association is vital in highlighting the importance and ease of getting these simple health checks done.

"Crucially, we’re pleased to now be able to offer our vision expertise in a convenient location to residents.

"Safeguarding our sight through regular eye exams with a trusted optician has never been more important.”

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