A trip to the supermarket could see you walking out with more than just your groceries.

This October marks the Stroke Foundation of New Zealand's Big Blood Pressure Check, giving tens of thousands of people the chance to get their blood pressure checked for free at participating sites across the country - and the Bay of Plenty is included.

In its 11th year, the Stroke Foundation is calling on New Zealanders to come along to one of the Big Blood Pressure Check testing stations at various Pak'nSave and New World sites on October 5.

Usually, there are no symptoms associated with high blood pressure. The only way to know if you are affected is to get tested.


Stroke Foundation of New Zealand chief executive Mark Vivian said getting a free blood pressure check this month could be a life-saving.

"High blood pressure is the leading cause of stroke. One in five New Zealanders has high blood pressure but about a third of these people don't know it."

As one of the Stroke Foundation's main priorities is stroke prevention, the campaign continues to grow and evolve.

This year, the Stroke Foundation has invested in a new piece of technology to detect the heart condition, atrial fibrillation (AF), a heart rhythm problem which can create the risk of blood clots and therefore increase the risk of stroke.

"Like high blood pressure, many people are unaware they have AF. We want to raise awareness of these modifiable risk factors that can lead to stroke.

"Ultimately it's about encouraging people to know their risk factors so that they can take action to better reduce their chance of having a stroke," Vivian said.

Everyone over the age of 45 should have an annual blood pressure check he advised.

Unichem and Life Pharmacies will be offering free checks throughout October for those that can't make it to their local supermarket on the Big Blood Pressure Check Day.


Where to get checked:
Pak'nSave Whakatane
New World Gate Pa
Pak'nSave Rotorua