The warning comes from doctors at Summerfield Healthcare, a private healthcare provider which has clinics in Shrewsbury and Wolverhampton, who say they are seeing an increase in the number of patients with high blood pressure during health checks provided by the company.
They say the pandemic has seen a general reduction in the number of visits to a GP since the arrival of lockdown last March which has in many cases led to fewer blood pressure checks being carried out.
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Paul Hatton, CQC manager at Summerfield Healthcare, said: “High blood pressure is a serious concern. It can put a strain on the arteries and organs which can increase the risk of strokes and heart attacks.
“It’s important that it is monitored regularly and that any changes are recognised and acted upon to prevent serious problems occuring.
“Many surgeries have had little alternative during the last year but to encourage patients to buy their own blood pressure machine and check their blood pressure regularly.
“It has been brought about by the increasing pressures on surgeries due to the pandemic and, obviously, precautions have had to be put in place to limit face-to-face contact in a bid to limit the spread of Covid.
“It has meant, in many cases, leaving the checking of the blood pressure in the hands of patients to some degree, and then passing results back to the surgery.
"It’s also worth noting that even if the blood pressure is higher than normal, surgeries may not get back in touch with the patient unless the blood pressure is significantly raised due to Covid-19.
“The increase we have seen in the number of people with high blood pressure during their health check has been a concern and is something we feel should be highlighted.
"We are urging people to ensure they keep an eye on their blood pressure if the GP checks continue to be unavailable to them.
“We recommend that all adults over 40 have their blood pressure tested annually so any potential problems can be detected early and necessary action taken.”
For more about Summerfield Healthcare healthchecks, visit summerfieldhealthcare.co.uk/health-checks