Manager of Take the Pressure Down

Free blood pressure clinics arrive on the West Shore

The time is now for West Shore residents to take ease their blood pressure.

The time is now for West Shore residents to ease their blood pressure.

Free blood pressure screening, monitoring and education has arrived on the West Shore with “Take the Pressure Down” community clinics coming in time for heart month in February.

“Through our home support and care facility work … we see the downstream effects from heart disease and strokes,” said Isobel McKenzie, CEO of Beacon Community Services. “We are working in partnership for a healthier community.”

The community agency is offering appointment-free clinics in partnership with the Heart and Stroke Foundation at the Westshore Town Centre and the West Shore Parks and Recreation Centre.

People can have their blood pressure taken and be given information about heart health. The pilot program started in Victoria in 2009, expanded to the Saanich Peninsula in 2010 and expanded to the West Shore and Sooke in 2012.

“In 2010, the World Health Organization recognized hypertension as the leading risk factor for mortality around the world,” said Jeff Sommers, manager of Research and Science for the Heart and Stroke Foundation. “It is an issue on the global level, it is the number one chronic condition in B.C. with (more than) 700,000 people (affected).”

High blood pressure, or hypertension affects about 22 per cent of Canadian adults and is directly associated with health problems including cardiovascular disease, stroke and kidney disease. Information will be forwarded to family physician’s if blood pressure is high and the agency will follow up if necessary.

“Prevention is one of the cornerstones of our mission. Helping people help themselves,” McKenzie said. “By monitoring blood pressure you are able to look at early intervention and strategies to help folks be healthier and maintain independence later in life.”

Future dates include the Westshore Town Centre Feb. 23 and March 8, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and at West Shore Parks and Recreation, Feb. 16, March 1 and 15, 4 to 7 p.m.

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