A Hilperton Marsh stroke survivor is backing the Stroke Association’s plea not to ignore high blood pressure, which it dubs a “silent killer”.

Dean Mitchel, dad of two, said knew that the medication his doctor had prescribed was failing to control his high blood pressure but put off going back until it was too late.

The resulting stroke in November last year left him with a range of disabilities and now he is sharing his story to support the Stroke Association’s plea for people to get their blood pressure checked and, if it’s too high, properly managed.

Despite leading a healthy and active life, the 54-year-old had been diagnosed with type two diabetes three years ago despite leading a healthy life and following the doctor’s order.

He had a very stressful job, working as an applications engineer producing breathing equipment for Covid-19 patients, and just felt there wasn’t time. 

Dean said: “I had been feeling unwell for a week or so and just a bit vague but it was put down to a virus.

“I went to the doctors for a blood test. When I got home I was even vaguer and then things went really bizarre. It’s the nearest I’ve got to being stoned, being present but not being fully present.

Dean spent two weeks at the Royal United Hospital, in Bath, where doctors found his stroke was caused by a clot and evidence of an earlier TIA or ‘mini-stroke’. He was then transferred to begin his rehab at Chippenham Community Hospital where he spent a further two weeks.

Wiltshire Times: Dean with wife Hayley and children Indigo and TorinDean with wife Hayley and children Indigo and Torin

It has been a long journey for Dean to get his mobility back, after initially having no movement in his right arm. 

He said: “I’m trying to return to work, hopefully, the end of March. I haven’t driven since my stroke. I haven’t attempted it.

Juliet Bouverie, chief executive at the Stroke Association said: “Pre-pandemic, diagnosis rates of high blood pressure and atrial fibrillation were already low. So we’re incredibly worried that the pandemic’s knock-on effect on healthcare services means thousands of people are unknowingly living with these deadly conditions."

In the NHS Bath, North East Somerset, Swindon and Wiltshire CCG area, more than 118,000 adults have been diagnosed with high blood pressure and half as many again may be undiagnosed.

Go to the Stroke Association website for more information on high blood pressure and stroke and atrial fibrillation and stroke.