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An NHS and voluntary sector project in Keighley which spots high blood pressure early, has been awarded a £10,000 Heart Research UK Healthy Heart Grant to support more people in making vital lifestyle changes.

The Keighley Health Living (KHL) ‘Blood Pressure Connect’ project, helps patients between the ages of 40–74, who have been identified by their GP as having stage 1 hypertension, which is blood pressure above normal range but not high enough to need medical treatment.

After an initial pilot, the project was shown to reduce the number of people living with stage 1 hypertension. Left to get worse high blood pressure can cause heart disease and related complications such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure. The grant funding will allow the project to reach more people in the Keighley area, where there is a higher than national average of people living with stage 1 hypertension.

Once raised blood pressure is detected, GPs across Airedale, Wharfedale and Craven can refer patients to the Blood Pressure Connect project where they are supported in making lifestyle changes. By finding raised blood pressure early and supporting patients to make lifestyle changes which meet their needs and circumstances, people can prevent it getting worse and it leading to onset of more serious health conditions in the future and reducing their quality of life.

The Blood Pressure Connect project guides patients through how to make changes to lifestyle and behaviours in a personalised way. Keighley healthy Living (KHL) support people to access activities, groups and courses that support physical, and social health on their terms, building confidence and readiness to engage with support for the longer-term.

Melanie Hey, CEO at KHL said: “We are so pleased to be awarded this funding. It’s a great example of how the voluntary care sector can work collaboratively with the NHS and their Primary Care Networks to support people’s health in a more holistic, person-centred ways. The grant will allow us to help more people with stage 1 hypertension to make early changes which can potentially save lives. By identifying blood pressure above normal range early, we can support people in finding the best ways for them to change habits and behaviours which can reduce the risk of conditions such as heart attack, stroke, and heart failure in the future.

“If you are at all concerned about your blood pressure, some pharmacies offer a service which can check your blood pressure, or you can speak to your GP practice for advice.”

Further information about hypertension, otherwise known as high blood pressure, can be found on the NHS website:

The Blood Pressure Connect project is a collaboration between patients, Keighley Healthy Living (KHL), Healthy Hearts (Bradford District and Craven Health and Care Partnership), and local Primary Care Networks (PCNs), Modality and the Wharfedale, Airedale and Craven Alliance (WACA). The project has been given grant funding following a successful bid to Healthy Hearts Grant for Yorkshire region supported by Heart Research UK.