European Stroke Awareness Day, 10 May 2022, focuses on #StrokePrevention.
Research shows that many strokes can be prevented but many people do not know the risks and signs of having a stroke.
High blood pressure is one of 10 modifiable risk factors of stroke. 1 in 5 people in Europe are at risk of having a stroke as they have high blood pressure, according to European Commission research, Eurostat.
The highest levels of high blood pressure were recorded in Croatia (37% of people aged 15 years and over), Latvia and Hungary (both 32%). In contrast, the lowest shares were recorded in Ireland (12%), Luxembourg, Romania and the Netherlands (all 16%).
Interesting facts you should know
- High blood pressure (or hypertension) is the single biggest risk factor for stroke. It can weaken the arteries in the brain and cause them to burst or clot more easily (1).
- An estimated 1.28 billion people worldwide have high blood pressure but just 14% have it under control. It is a major cause of premature death every year. Yet, because it rarely causes symptoms, approximately 46% of adults don’t even know they have it (2).
- The risk of high blood pressure rises as we get older and is more common in men. You have more chance of developing the condition if it runs in your family, if you are overweight, smoke, drink too much alcohol or eat a diet high in salt (2).
- People don’t always know they have high blood pressure is because there are often few, or no, symptoms. You may have headaches, shortness of breath or nosebleeds. But you may experience nothing at all. Damage could be happening to your arteries without you even knowing it, increasing your risk of stroke (3).
- So, it is important to check your blood pressure regularly and maintain a healthy lifestyle (regular exercise, good diet, loose weight) to lower your blood pressure. Visit www.strokeprevention.info for information on the most common risks of stroke and how to reduce it. Available in six languages: English, French, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish.