Do you know your numbers?

NHS Greater Huddersfield Clinical Commissioning Group and NHS North Kirklees Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) are urging local residents to get their blood pressure checked as part of Know Your Numbers! Week – the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event held at ‘Pressure Stations’ around the country from 9th to the 15th of September 2019.

This comes as charity, Blood Pressure UK cautions that ignoring health warnings, particularly about poor diet and excess salt intake, is leading more young people to develop hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) – putting them at risk of having an early stroke, especially when they don’t know their blood pressure numbers.

With unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet contributing to more young people in their 30s, 40s and 50s being diagnosed with hypertension, around 1 in 3 people in the UK are now living with high blood pressure (the single biggest cause of death) – with 6.5 million[1] people still remaining undiagnosed.

Key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not enough exercise.

Blood pressure testing is also available in a variety of settings such as:

  • at a pharmacy
  • as part of your NHS Health Check
  • at your GP surgery by a GP, practice nurse, healthcare assistant or self-service machine
  • in some workplaces
  • at some health events
  • at home – you can buy a variety of low-cost monitors so you can test your blood pressure at home or while you’re out and about. It’s important to make sure you use equipment that has been properly tested. The British Hypertension Society (BHS) has information about validated blood pressure monitors that are available to buy.

Dr David Kelly, local GP and Chair of NHS North Kirklees CCG said: “High blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but if untreated, increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes. As an individual, 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.”

Dr Steve Ollerton, local GP and Chair, NHS Greater Huddersfield CCG added:  “It’s important that people have their blood pressure checked and if it is high, speak to a healthcare professional to make the necessary lifestyle changes to help manage it.  All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.”

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK comments:

“Diseases caused by high blood pressure (such as stroke, vascular dementia, coronary heart disease and chronic kidney disease) cost the NHS over £2.1bn ever year, yet over 80% of premature cardiovascular deaths could be prevented by better public health.

“The majority of the UK population would benefit by improvements in diet and lifestyle such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables and doing more exercise, and once you know you are at risk, you are much more likely to take action.  So if you are one of the missing 6 million with high blood pressure, simply having a 5 minute check could add an extra healthy month to your life, helping you to live well for longer.”

[1] Using the 16 million figure from PHE for England this has been extrapolated to give a figure of 19 million for the UK.

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