Home Health Know Your Numbers and have a blood pressure check

Know Your Numbers and have a blood pressure check

by Cathy Sheel

Most people know their weight, but do you know your blood pressure numbers?  The only way to find out is to get checked.

During the recent Know Your Numbers Week when Knowsley residents were invited to have their blood pressure checked for free at Volair leisure centres, more than half of those tested had higher than normal blood pressure readings, which could have a negative impact on their health.

High blood pressure narrows the blood vessels and can cause strokes and heart attacks, angina, heart failure and kidney failure. Knowing your blood pressure can save your life.

During the checks at Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Kirkby and Stockbridge leisure centres, 128 people had their blood pressure checked. Of these, 74 had their blood pressure recorded as being on the high side of normal, high or very high.

Participants were offered lifestyle advice to help lower their blood pressure and signposted to have their BP checked again – either self-testing, or at a pharmacy or GP practice.

Blood pressure is a measure of your blood as it is pumped around the body. It can be low, normal or high. High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms, but if left untreated it increases your risk of developing serious health problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

Top tips for reducing your blood pressure include:

  1. Cut down on salt – Don’t add it when cooking or at the table. Check food labels for salt content and avoid processed foods high in salt. Aim to eat less than a level teaspoon (6g) a day.
  2. Eat well – a healthy, balanced, high fibre diet that includes plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five different portions every day will help.  Find out more at Knowsley Public Health (healthyknowsley.co.uk)
  3. Keep active – No matter how much you do, physical activity is good for your body and mind. Adults should aim to be active every day. Some is good – more is better still, just do what you can to your own ability.  If you are unsure about becoming more active, ask your GP.
  4. Drink less alcohol – cutting back on alcohol does not just help improve your health, it can boost your energy, help you lose weight and save money.  Any reduction in the amount you drink every week will be beneficial to your health.  Download the lower my drinking app to help keep track of the amount you drink.
  5. Stop Smoking – you can get support from https://www.smokefreeknowsley.org.uk/

Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health said: “High blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but remains one of the leading causes of death. 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.

“With the everyday pressures of life, we know that knowing your blood pressure numbers isn’t always a priority. But taking the time to have a blood pressure check is so important and could save your life.”

If you are registered with a Knowsley GP and are aged between 40 and 74, you can also sign up for a free NHS health check which looks at your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and stroke.

The simple check includes taking your blood pressure, measuring your cholesterol by a simple finger-prick test, as well as talking about your family history and your current lifestyle. Telephone your GP surgery to make an appointment.

Other helpful information can be found at: www.happy-hearts.co.uk

For local help and support visit the Healthy Knowsley website at https://www.healthyknowsley.co.uk/