Cowper electorate under pressure Coffs Coast Nambucca Valley by News Of The Area - Modern Media - May 23, 2021 THE New South Wales region of Cowper is number nine in Australia’s top ten hot spots for high blood pressure, the single largest risk factor for stroke. 255 people in the Cowper region had a stroke for the first time in their lives in 2020. 4,430 people are living with the impact of stroke in the community, while 37,067 people in the Cowper region are living with high blood pressure. The data has been released to mark World Hypertension Day, May 17, and the official launch of Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check, in which local residents are encouraged to roll up their sleeves throughout May and have a blood pressure check to curb their stroke risk. Stroke Foundation New South Wales State Manager Rhian Paton-Kelly said blood pressure checks can save lives. “It’s estimated more than 37,000 people in the Cowper electorate are living with high blood pressure, many unknowingly, putting themselves at serious risk of a potentially devastating stroke,” Ms Paton-Kelly said. “You may think your health is fine but high blood pressure often has no immediate symptoms. “Over time it puts extra stress on blood vessel walls. “This can cause them to narrow or break down, increasing the risk of stroke and heart disease. “The higher your blood pressure, the greater your risk of stroke.” Stroke can change lives in an instant. It strikes the brain, which controls everything we do, including our thoughts and movements. Stroke is one of Australia’s biggest killers and a leading cause of disability. However, research shows 48 percent of strokes could be prevented if high blood pressure alone was eliminated. Head of Pharmacy at Blooms The Chemist, Eric Chan, encouraged Cowper residents to prioritise their health and reduce their risk of stroke by taking part in Australia’s Biggest Blood Pressure Check this month. “All you need to do is get your blood pressure checked at Blooms Grafton, Toormina, Sawtell, South West Rocks or with a GP (General Practitioner) and continue to measure it regularly,” Mr Chan said. “Even younger people in their 20s can be impacted by the adverse effects of having high blood pressure.” Major contributors to high blood pressure include poor diet (especially high salt intake), being overweight, excessive alcohol consumption and insufficient physical activity. It can be managed with medication and by living a healthy, active lifestyle. The theme of World Hypertension Day is measure your blood pressure accurately, control it, live longer.