Find out where to have your blood pressure tested for FREE during May Measurement Month…

According to a report in The Lancet, 44 – 46% of adults over the age of 15 in South Africa have high blood pressure1 (hypertension) but only 50% know they are affected2.

Every three seconds someone dies from hypertension (high blood pressure), but painless and regular blood pressure checks can save lives.

While there are no obvious symptoms of hypertension/high blood pressure (BP), if left unchecked it is a potential silent killer which can lead to heart disease, stroke and even death.

A BP test is the only way to find out if BP levels are elevated – a non-invasive and really quick measure that will immediately determine if levels are unacceptably high – and in May, South Africans can get free BP testing thanks to May Measurement Month, a collaborative campaign being orchestrated by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH), the Southern African Hypertension Society (SAHS), Servier, National Department of Health (DOH), Dis-Chem, Novartis, OMRON and MSD.

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Almost one in two adults has hypertension

According to the President of the ISH, Prof Alta Schutte, some of the highest blood pressures in the world have been recorded in Sub-Saharan Africa. Locally, the picture is just as gloomy with many believing we are facing a national health emergency. “In South Africa almost one in every two adults has hypertension.

“What’s more alarming is that about 70% of adults in Sub-Saharan Africa with hypertension are not awarethey have high blood pressure,” says Schutte, who is also the Director of the South African MRC Unit for Hypertension and CVD at the North-West University.

Hypertension is the number one cardiovascular risk factor and the world’s greatest risk factor for death and disability according to the World Health Organisation4, leading to 9,4 million (95% UI 8,6 million to 10,1 million) deaths5a. Every three seconds a person dies from hypertension’s consequences5b. In South Africa, an estimated 53 men and 78 women over 30 die from the impact of hypertension every day6. Other disease complications can include heart failure, peripheral vascular disease, renal impairment, retinal haemorrhage and visual impairment.

“When one considers that a simple BP test can be instrumental in avoiding this, it clarifies the importance of collaborative awareness campaigns like this,” adds Schutte.

What causes hypertension?

Explaining the contributing risk factors of the disease, Prof Brian Rayner, nephrologist and director of the Hypertension Institute at the University of Cape Town says, “Hypertension is most often caused by a combination of hereditary influences and poor lifestyle. You can do little about your parents or your age but you can live healthily. This includes exercise, reducing salt intake, following a good diet high in fruit and veg, no excessive alcohol consumption, maintaining an ideal weight, managing stress and no smoking.”

“Hypertension kills economically active people or disables them due to stroke, heart attack or kidney failure. This has a further financial impact on families who must provide care for their loved ones after a stroke. If you don’t have your BP measured you won’t know you have the condition until it strikes. The importance of annual BP testing cannot be stressed enough and if you have a BP higher than 140/90 immediately seek further medical intervention. Lifestyle changes should be sufficient to correct a BP of 130-140/80-90,” says Rayner.

Rayner adds that elevated BP is subject to the rule of halves. “Fifty percent of the population is unaware of their condition, 50 percent of those who are aware do not take treatment, and 50 percent of those who take treatment are not controlled, leaving only 12,5 percent of the total population who are controlled.”

From this, it’s clear that BP management is all about the numbers and these figures indicate that treatment goals are not being met and it’s time to retool. World Hypertension Day is celebrated on 17 May and the World Hypertension League’s theme fittingly is ‘Know Your Numbers’.

BP screenings are quick and painless

Usually, a healthcare professional will use an electronic device that is strapped to the upper arm. The cuff or band squeezes the arm for several seconds, cutting off blood flow, and then releasing.

It’s important that some simple rules are followed when checking for hypertension: sitting calmly, feet flat on the floor and not having eaten in the past hour.

The blood pressure screenings being organised by the SAHS will be held at the following venues in May:

Date : May 2019 Time Venue City
May 08:00 – 17:00 Dis-Chem Pharmacies Nation-wide
May – Mon-Fri 09:00-16:00 Chirocare – C1 Cascades Office Park, Cnr Hendrik Potgieter & Cascades Road, Little Falls Roodepoort, Gauteng
May – various days All Day Myriam Thys Physiotherapy –  Shop 2, Fairland centre, cnr 14th avenue Fairland Johannesburg, Gauteng
May – Mon-Fri 09:00-16:00 Michael Ellefsen, Biokineticist Upper Level, ‘L Corro Shopping Centre, Cnr. 14th Ave & Bagley Terrace, Northcliff Johannesburg, Gauteng
2nd May 09:00-15:00 WITS Solomon Mahlangu House Senate House – main campus Johannesburg, Gauteng
7th May 09:00-15:00 WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix) Johannesburg, Gauteng
7th May 13:30-15:00 WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix) Johannesburg, Gauteng
9th May 9:00-15:00 WITS Phillip Tobias Building Johannesburg, Gauteng
14th May 9:00-15:00 WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix) Johannesburg, Gauteng
14th May 13:30-15:00 WITS Education campus (Public Health Building) Johannesburg, Gauteng
16th May 09:00-15:00 WITS Solomon Mahlangu House Senate House – main campus Johannesburg, Gauteng
18th May 10:00-15:00 Bryanston Organic Market Fourways, Gauteng
21st May 09:00-15:00 WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix) Johannesburg, Gauteng
21st May 13:30-15:00 WITS Medical School (Adler Museum) Johannesburg, Gauteng
23rd May 09:00-15:00 WITS Medical School departments Johannesburg, Gauteng
28th May 09:00-15:00 WITS PPS lounge main campus (matrix) Johannesburg, Gauteng
20th to 31st May daily: bar Sunday All Day Walter Sisulu Botanical Gardens Roodepoort, Gauteng
Weekdays SOWETO households Johannesburg, Gauteng
TBC All Day Melrose Arch GP – screening at various companies in and around Melrose Arch Johannesburg, Gauteng
May: daily All Day NWU campus clinic Potchesfstroom, North West
6th – 17th May All Day NWU Potchefstroom Amphitheatre and Loverslane Potchefstroom; Mahikeng; Vanderbijlpark, North West
6th –  17th May All Day Ikageng Mall (11 Zinn St, Potch Industria) Potchefstroom, North West
6th – 17th May All Day Rural Ikageng Potchefstroom, North West
6th – 17th May All Day Die Bult (main pedestrian street in Potchefstroom, 76 Molen St) Potchesfstroom, North West
24th May 10:00-16:30


Ga-mogoboya, Facility Sports ground, Batlhabine Traditional Area, Carling Sport Facility Tzaneen, Limpopo
Every Thursday All Day Groote Schuur Hospital Observatory, Cape Town
24th May All Day Ngwathe Local Municipality Area, at open space Mapetla Section next to the orphanage home Parys, Free State


Don’t become a statistic – check your pressure this May Measurement Month. It’s free at Dis-Chem and other participating sites in May. Find one in your area. //


  1. SA Demographic and Health Survey:
  2. Olsen MH, Angell SY, Asma S, et al. The ancet. 2016;388:2665?2712.
  3. Worldwide trends in blood pressure from 1975 – 2015: a pooled analysis of 1479 population-based measurement studies with 19.1million participants. NCD Risk Factor Collaboration – Vol 389, January 7, 2017 (a: pg 37, b: pg 45)
  4. World Health Organization. Geneva: WHO, 2014.
  5. Lim SS, Vos T, Flaxman AD, et al. A comparative risk assessment of burden of disease and injury attributable to 67 risk factors and risk factor clusters in 21 regions, 1990–2010: a systematic analysis for the Global Burden of Disease Study 2010. Lancet 2012; 380: 2224–60.
  6. Health24. [Internet]. What is the prevalence of hypertension?


While All4Women endeavours to ensure health articles are based on scientific research, health articles should not be considered as a replacement for professional medical advice. Should you have concerns related to this content, it is advised that you discuss them with your personal healthcare provider.