We hear so much at this time of year about New Year's resolutions – eat healthy, quit smoking, get more exercise, drink more water. The list goes on and on and on.
While these are all valid and well intentioned goals, I am urging you to do one simple thing for your health in 2018 which could save your life.
Have your blood pressure checked.
High blood pressure is a key risk factor for stroke and one that can be managed.
Stroke is a devastating disease that will impact one in six of us. There is one stroke every nine minutes in Australia. Stroke attacks the human control centre – the brain – it happens in an instant and changes lives forever.
In 2018 it's estimated there will be more than 56,000 strokes across the country. Stroke will kill more women than breast cancer and more men than prostate cancer this year.
But the good news is that it does not need to be this way. Up to 80 percent of strokes are preventable, and research has shown the number of strokes would be practically cut in half (48 percent) if high blood pressure alone was eliminated.
Around 4.1 million of us have high blood pressure and many of us don't realise it. Unfortunately, high blood pressure has no symptoms. The only way to know if it is a health issue for you is by having it checked by your doctor or local pharmacist.
Make having regular blood pressure checks a priority for 2018. Include a blood pressure check in your next GP visit or trip to the shops. Be aware of your stroke risk and take steps to manage it. Do it for yourself and do it for your family.
If you think you are too young to suffer a stroke, think again. One in three people who has a stroke is of working age.
Health and fitness is big business. But before you fork out big bucks on a personal trainer or diet plan this year, do something simple and have your blood pressure checked.
It will only take five minutes, it's non-invasive and it could save your life.