Posted by Bobbie Walkem-Smith at 13/09/2013 12:30:37
People from across Canterbury, Faversham, Whitstable, Herne Bay and Ash are being urged to get their blood pressure checked as part of Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Know your Numbers!’ week.
As part of this year’s awareness week, running from 16 – 22 September, people are being asked to find out if they have ‘lucky numbers’ by having a free blood pressure check.
Many people don’t have ‘lucky numbers’ – approximately 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure. In the NHS Canterbury and Coastal Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) area it is estimated that around 55,000 adults have high blood pressure, and of those, more than 26,000 are unaware they have a problem.
Blood pressure measures how strongly blood is pressing against the walls of your arteries as it is being pumped around your body. If blood pressure becomes too high (also known as hypertension), it can narrow the arteries and blood vessels. If left untreated, it can lead to serious health consequences, such as an increased risk of heart attack, stroke, kidney disease or heart failure.
If a person’s blood pressure is, for example, ‘140 over 90’, or 140/90mmHg, this means that they have a systolic pressure (heart pushing blood around body) of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure (when the heart is resting between beats) of 90mmHg.
A person is said to have high blood pressure if readings on separate occasions consistently show the blood pressure to be 140 over 90 or higher. A blood pressure reading below 130 over 80 is considered to be normal.
To help maintain a healthy blood pressure or reduce your blood pressure, people should:
• Reduce salt and caffeine intake
• Eat more fresh fruit and vegetables
• Drink alcohol in moderation
• Quit smoking
• Do at least 30 minutes of moderate activity, such as brisk walk or dancing, at least five times per week
• Lose weight if you need to.
Dr Mark Jones, Chair of NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG, said: “High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms so the only way for people to know if they have the condition is to have regular checks.
“The CCG fully supports Blood Pressure UK’s campaign, which is a helpful reminder to people of the serious health risks associated with high blood pressure. The good news is that high blood pressure can be treated, and there are lots of things people can do to lower the risks, such as cutting out salty foods, drinking in moderation and raising activity levels.
“I would urge people invited for a free NHS Health Check, which measures people's individual risk of developing diseases linked to high blood pressure, to take up the offer. There are also around 10 pressure stations in the Canterbury and Coastal area for Know your Numbers week where people can go to have their blood pressure measured.”
As part of Know your Numbers! Week, more than 1,500 Pressure Stations will be measuring people’s blood pressure for free across the UK. For further information on Know your Numbers! week and to find your local Pressure Station, visit: www.bloodpressureuk.org.
Follow NHS Canterbury and Coastal CCG on Twitter, @NHSCCCCG.