Dangers of high blood pressure the focus of Know Your Numbers! Week

Health and care partners are encouraging Lancashire and South Cumbria residents to have healthy hearts by knowing their numbers as a national awareness week highlights the dangers of high blood pressure.

This year’s Know Your Numbers! Week runs until Sunday 12 September and takes place at a time when medical professionals are raising awareness of the risk of heart attack and stroke – which for many people has been exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership’s Healthy Hearts website www.healthierlsc.co.uk/healthyhearts has been created with input from cardiac and stroke prevention experts to help people prevent cardiovascular disease through their lifestyle choices, and regular blood pressure monitoring.

Typically, Know Your Numbers! Week, which is organised by the charity Blood Pressure UK, would see medical professionals organising pop-up blood pressure checks across the country. Due to social distancing measures, however, there will be no free pressure checks in the community again this year, so the focus is on home monitoring.

The forgotten pandemic is high blood pressure and home blood pressure monitoring is an effective and inexpensive way to keep blood pressure under control and the evidence behind it continues to get stronger.

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. It puts you in the driver’s seat, and it really can save lives.

People aged 40-74 years old may also be eligible for a FREE NHS health check which includes a blood pressure check. If you receive a letter from your GP surgery or local council inviting you for a free NHS Health Check make sure you attend.

This year, everyone is being encouraged to “Know Your Numbers!” to find those with undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Local GP Dr Umesh Chauhan, on behalf of the Lancashire and South Cumbria Health and Care Partnership, said: “Around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most don’t know it. High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other serious illnesses and often does not have any symptoms so the only way to find out is to have a blood pressure check.

“Home monitoring means that you don’t have to have an appointment with a GP, so many people find it more convenient. Monitors are inexpensive and available from many online stores or pharmacies. You can also lend them to friends and neighbours – but remember to follow COVID-19 safety guidelines. Alternatively, if you are invited for a free NHS health check make sure you attend.

“Keep a record of your blood pressure, and if your numbers are high, you should inform your GP right away.”

Blood pressure monitors vary in price, and there are a number of inexpensive, reliable machines available, starting at about £20.

Once you Know Your Numbers! you can get support to bring your blood pressure under control and prevent these diseases.

Visit www.healthierlsc.co.uk/healthyhearts for more information about cardiovascular disease and making healthier lifestyle choices, and www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension for conditions associated with high blood pressure.

There is more information about Know Your Numbers! Week at www.bloodpressureuk.org as well as a range of home blood pressure monitoring tips and resources.