Experts are warning of a rise in strokes suffered by young people – including those in their 20s, 30s and 40s – and they are blaming a penchant for salty food.
New figures reveal that the proportion of those experienced by people of working age, roughly 25 to 64 years, has increased.
A quarter of the people who will die in September alone from a stroke will be under the age of 75, with most of these cases preventable.
This is despite an overall reduction in the number of strokes in the UK.
The findings are being attributed to more young people developing high blood pressure.
Also known as hypertension, elevated blood pressure can increase your likelihood of having a stroke.
Poor diet is one of the main factors driving the rise in this age group, according to Blood Pressure UK.
Excess salt intake is thought to be a key cause, as well as not eating enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not doing enough exercise.
Blood Pressure UK say cutting salt intake to less than 6g a day is the quickest way to reduce blood pressure.
They recommend avoiding adding it to cooking or at the table, not using stock cubes, gravy and soy.
Since high blood pressure can go unnoticed without a blood pressure test, Blood Pressure UK are encouraging people – regardless of age – to get theirs checked out.
In the UK, roughly one in three people is living with hypertension, and 6.5 million people are thought to be undiagnosed.
High blood pressure accounts for 60 per cent of all strokes, with nine out of ten of the cases of the latter preventable.
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK said: “High blood pressure kills thousands of people every year in the UK, and is almost entirely preventable.
By lowering the population’s blood pressure even a small amount, we could save the NHS over £1billion every year.
“As an individual having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”
This week, 18th to 24th September, Blood Pressure UK will be hosting free blood pressure checks at Pressure Stations across the UK – find your nearest station here.