She took a routine health check and was told to go to A&E

Justine enjoyed a relatively active lifestyle before her diagnosis and showed no signs of having high blood pressure
Justine enjoyed a relatively active lifestyle before her diagnosis and showed no signs of having high blood pressure -Credit:NICHS

A woman was stunned after a routine health check revealed she had dangerously high blood pressure, prompting her to urge others to get tested.

Justine Daly was leading an active life and had no worries about her health until the day she received her unexpected diagnosis. Despite showing no symptoms, the news she needed urgent medical attention came as a shock.

The alarming discovery of Justine's condition was made during a workplace health screening provided by the local charity, Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke (NICHS).

READ MORE: Police officer sacked after incriminating WhatsApp messages found

READ MORE: 'Man slashed' and woman 'seriously injured' as two groups brawl outside city bar

Reflecting on the experience, Justine said: "My employer had organised for Northern Ireland Chest Heart and Stroke to come to our workplace in Belfast to carry out health checks in March. I saw this as an opportunity to get things checked either for piece of mind or a nudge to change something."

"I had a similar check back in 2019 and although my blood pressure was elevated, it was nowhere near a critical level. I certainly didn't expect to find out my blood pressure was off the Richter scale and that I should go to A&E immediately", reports Belfast Live.

She continued, detailing her interaction with the NICHS staff: "My check was carried out by a lady called Valerie from NICHS's Health Promotion team. She was lovely and had a very professional and caring manner. Valerie explained what the health check would involve and that the blood pressure check would be at the end. My results from the other tests were all great. I had a metabolic age of 40 and at 54 I was delighted to hear that."

"When it was time for the blood pressure check Valerie did it on my left arm and said, 'Right. Take yourself off to the beach. You are standing on the beach. Imagine how calm you would be feeling', and then she measured it again. Once more, she asked me to take a few moments to try and relax. She then did the measurement on my right arm, and that is when she told me I needed to go to A&E because my blood pressure was dangerously high."

Justine said: "It took a moment for the news that it was that high to sink in. I hadn't experienced anything, no symptoms or warning signs, which would have made me concerned about my blood pressure or health in general. I was expecting it to be elevated like previously but not so high I had to go to hospital. It came as a complete shock.

"Valerie could see the look of horror on my face and must have thought another course of action might be worth trying. She said that I should phone my GP surgery and ask their advice. If they felt I didn't necessarily need to go straight to A&E and would arrange an urgent appointment with my doctor, then she would be happy with that advice.

"Valerie waited with me until I got a call back from my doctor, which was very reassuring and kind. My surgery prioritised me, getting an appointment for the following morning and Valerie advised me to go home and do nothing but rest, which I did. She was able to make me understand this was extremely important, but without petrifying me."

Justine enjoying a slower pace at the beach
Justine enjoying a slower pace at the beach

She was "quite anxious" about the prospect of going to A&E but that made Justine realise "just how serious the situation was". She saw her doctor the next day who prescribed medication.

Justine said: "The nurse took my bloods to get a baseline and I had to go back two weeks later for a review and an ECG. The doctor was happy with everything, so I was advised to keep taking my medication as prescribed and go back in a month for a further check-up."

Justine wants to encourage others to get their blood pressure checked. She said: "At first, I thought, 'it might not really be that serious because I can't feel anything, I feel fine', but that's the thing many people don't realise, you don't necessarily have symptoms when your blood pressure is through the roof. I had experienced absolutely no signs that would have made me concerned about my blood pressure."

Don't miss the biggest and breaking stories by signing up to the Echo Daily newsletter here