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The Blood Pressure Association (BPA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Sir David Attenborough as its Patron. Sir David's decision to become the charity's Patron is a key milestone for the BPA, and one which will further help the Association to highlight the fact that high blood pressure (hypertension), is the single most important known cause of premature death and disability in the UK.

Sir David, Patron of the BPA, says, "High blood pressure affects people of all ages across the country and the world, but has no symptoms. Since discovering that I, like nearly a third of the adult population of this country have high blood pressure, I have taken some simple steps to get it controlled. Every adult should know their blood pressure numbers, the same way they know their height and weight and if it is raised take the right measures to lower it."

The timing of Sir David's appointment coincides with World Hypertension Day (WHD) which falls on 14 May 2005. The purpose of WHD is to communicate globally the importance of high blood pressure and if untreated its serious medical complications e.g. stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

High blood pressure is a worldwide epidemic affecting both developed and developing countries. The World Hypertension League estimates that there are more than 1.5 billion people with high blood pressure. In many countries more than half of people over 60 years of age have hypertension, with one-third being treated, and as little as one in ten people having their blood pressure properly controlled. This lack of blood pressure control is putting people at unnecessary risk of developing a stroke or heart disease.

The Blood Pressure Association is the only UK-wide registered charity dedicated to preventing death and disability from stroke and heart disease caused by high blood pressure.

Nickie Roberts, Executive Director of the BPA, says, "We are thrilled with Sir David's decision to become the BPA's Patron. His public support for this critical issue will assist us enormously in driving home the key message, that simply by being aware of your blood pressure numbers, you are well on track towards securing a healthier future."

A key component of the BPA is its National Blood Pressure Awareness Week. The event will run from Monday 12 - Sunday 18 September 2005 and is the climax of the BPA's "Know Your Numbers!” ® campaign.

The week long event will offer people throughout UK, a free blood pressure test at a variety of BPA 'Pressure Stations' in pharmacies, gyms and health clubs, work places, supermarkets and GP surgeries. People will also be able to pick up free advice and information about high blood pressure and how to keep it healthy.

The Health Survey for England showed that about one third of adults in the UK had high blood pressure. The BPA are determined that everyone in the UK knows their blood pressure, just as they would know their height and weight and what appropriate steps to take to reduce the risk of them developing a stroke or heart disease.

Notes to Editors:

•  There are 16 million people in the UK with high blood pressure. Of these, 1/3 (5.3 million people) do not know they have the condition and of those who do, only 10% (1.6 million people) have their blood pressure controlled to target levels.

•  High blood pressure – a preventable and manageable condition – is the direct cause of half of all strokes and heart attacks in the UK. Failure to control blood pressure to target levels results in 62,000 unnecessary deaths every year.

•  Recent statistics show that 31.7% of men and 29.5% of women in the UK adult population has high blood pressure (Health Survey for England, 2003).

•  The BPA hold a range of case studies, young and old, that have high blood pressure and are available for interview

•  For the first time, the BPA will also be introducing 'Action Stations' - which will act as central information points for participants who are unable to carry out blood pressure testing.


 For more information:

Edward Higgins 020 8772 4984 / 0788 1834 206


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