Home Health ‘Know your Numbers’ and tackle the forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure

‘Know your Numbers’ and tackle the forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure

by Cathy Sheel

Help to tackle the forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure during Know Your Numbers Week, (6 – 12 September).

Being aware of your blood pressure and its impact on your health has never been more important than now. Having high blood pressure can lead to a stroke, heart attack or heart disease, but taking simple steps to know, and lower, your blood pressure can lower the risk.

Led by Blood Pressure UK, Know Your Numbers Week is an annual campaign encouraging people to take control of their own blood pressure. You can do this by checking your blood pressure at home if you have your own blood pressure monitor.

Home blood pressure monitoring is an effective way to keep blood pressure under control. It gives you a way to take control of your health, feel confident and take the pressure off the NHS at the same time, as there’s no need to visit your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist in person.

If you are known to have high blood pressure already but don’t have your own BP monitor, ask the nursing team at your GP practice about how to get checked (at least annually).

From October, every NHS pharmacy in England will be able to offer checks to people aged 40 and over as part of a new initiative between pharmacies and the NHS.

Simple lifestyle changes can make a difference

These simple actions can help keep your blood pressure at a healthy level:

Eat better – a healthy, balanced, high-fibre diet that includes plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables (five portions a day) and whole grains.  Too much salt will increase your blood pressure, so it’s best to limit the amount of salt you eat to no more than about a teaspoon (6g) a day. Try to avoid adding it when cooking or at the table.

Keep active – for most people the easiest way to get moving is to make activity part of everyday life.  A regular daily walk, if you’re not used to keeping active, start off with short walks and gradually build up to 30 minutes a day, aiming for at least 150 minutes in total each week.   If you are unsure about starting to get active speak to your GP or practice nurse.

Drink less alcohol – up to 14 units a week for both men and women to keep health risks low – a large glass of wine or a pint of strong lager is 2-3 units.

Giving up smoking is the single biggest thing you can do to improve your heart health.  Text QUIT to 61825** Call 0151 426 7462 or visit Smokefree Knowsley

You can find out more by visiting the Happy Hearts website which provides resources and advice on looking after your blood pressure, as well as useful information about looking after your blood pressure during COVID-19.

Cllr Christine Bannon, Knowsley’s Cabinet Member for Health said: “Around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most don’t know it and the many health risks associated with the condition really have made it the forgotten pandemic.

“Know Your Numbers Week is a great time for us to start taking control of our blood pressure. We can do that by checking our blood pressure at home with a blood pressure monitor. It puts you in the driver’s seat and it really can save lives.”

Visit the Blood Pressure UK website for information about how to measure your blood pressure at home.