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Give your heart a little love this Valentine's Day

People in the North East and North Cumbria are being urged to love their hearts this Valentine's Day.

Doctors in the region are encouraging people to get a potentially life-saving blood pressure check from their pharmacy or GP practice to keep their hearts healthy.

High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, is a leading cause of heart attacks and strokes, but it is preventable and treatable with the right support and care.

Dr Raj Bethapudi, clinical lead for cardiovascular disease at North East and North Cumbria Integrated Care Board (ICB), said: "This February, why not think a little differently about Valentine's Day and give your heart some love. High blood pressure makes your heart work harder when pumping blood around your body, but the good news is that it's very treatable.

"It's called a silent killer, because there are usually no symptoms and people generally get on with life as usual, until a stroke or heart attack occurs. Regular checks mean any problems can be spotted early and we can get you the right support.

"Whether you're planning a romantic night out or not, remember to give your heart some love and care – it just might save your life. It really is important to get your blood pressure checked, and learn what the numbers mean."

Around 5.5 million people in England have undiagnosed hypertension and don’t know they are at risk. The only way to check is by having your blood pressure measured. 

The NHS recommends that adults over 40 have their blood pressure checked at least once every five years - and ideally every year if your blood pressure is borderline or you have any lifestyle risk factors.

High blood pressure can occur naturally with age, but lifestyle choices like poor diet, obesity, lack of exercise, smoking, excessive alcohol and high salt intake are all contributing factors.

Eating a healthy diet, cutting down on alcohol, quitting smoking and taking exercise can all help to keep your heart healthy and reduce your risk. You can get your blood pressure checked at a community pharmacy or your GP practice. Further information about high blood pressure is available on the NHS website.

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