Know Your Numbers Week 2022

HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE affects 1 in 3 UK adults
BLOOD PRESSURE UK work to raise awareness of this condition

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Know Your Numbers Week 2022
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Know Your Numbers Week 2022

This week is Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers Week, running from the 5th-11th September. This week aims to raise awareness of high blood pressure and the importance of getting your blood pressure checked regularly.

With around 1 in 3 adults in the UK suffering with high blood pressure*, vigilance is key.

Keeping an eye on your blood pressure levels can help you to avoid serious related health issues further down the line.

In this article, we aim to help you understand what high blood pressure is, the causes and symptoms and how you can keep your blood pressure under control.

About Know Your Numbers Week 2022

Blood Pressure UK is a UK based charity aiming to raise awareness of and support those with high blood pressure. They have helped to organise free blood pressure checks, setting up pressure stations in various public places across the country.

Blood Pressure UK have run this initiative every September since the year 2000. This year they have stated 3 key ways in which to improve your health in relation to your blood pressure:

  • MEASURE: check your blood pressure reading to make sure its within the ideal range
  • MODIFY: make changes to your lifestyle to lower your blood pressure
  • MANAGE: keep your blood pressure under control to avoid further complications

Many organisations and people in the UK have taken part in this initiative in 2022. There are many ways to be involved, either as a pressure partner such as a pharmacy or a patient ambassador.

For more information about Blood Pressure UK and their excellent work click HERE.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pumps around all of our bodies every single day, distributing vital oxygen needed to survive.

Occasionally, the pressure can be too high for various reasons – which can have a serious impact on the affected person’s health. High blood pressure can raise the risk of serious issues such as heart attacks and strokes.

A ‘normal’ blood pressure will anywhere in the range of 90/60 up to 120/80. Anything over this would be considered ‘high’, with a reading over 140/90 being classed as hypertension and a very serious medical issue.

Blood pressure is read as ‘one number over another number’ with the first referring to ‘systolic’ blood pressure and the second referring to ‘diastolic’ blood pressure.

The systolic pressure refers to the force at which the blood pumps around the body. The diastolic pressure refers to the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

High blood pressure symptoms

In a lot of occasions high blood pressure can happen with little to no noticeable symptoms. This makes it even more important to have regular blood pressure checks, as often people do not realise their pressure has risen above the ‘normal’ levels.

Generally healthy adults over the age of 40 are recommended to check their blood pressure levels at least once every 5 years, with those at higher risk advised to have a yearly check-up.

Whilst there are not always noticeable symptoms, there are some warning signs to look out for. The most common of these are:

  • Nosebleeds
  • Headaches
  • Having blurred vision
  • Shortness of breath
  • Experiencing chest pains
  • Feeling dizzy

If experiencing any of these symptoms, consult a medical professional such as your GP as soon as possible. Even if not high blood pressure, these symptoms will likely need further investigation.

Risks of high blood pressure

High blood pressure can lead to many additional health risks if not brought under control and managed efficiently. Other serious health conditions and issues that can result from high blood pressure include:

All of the above conditions can have a severe impact on a person’s quality of life. Something as simple as managing your blood pressure can help to prevent the occurrence of these medical conditions.

High blood pressure is both preventable and treatable, especially if following a doctor’s advice. If you have been prescribed any medication, it is vital to take this consistently as prescribed to protect your health.

What causes high blood pressure?

High blood pressure can be caused by a variety of reasons. There is not always one clear cause but there are many things that will be classed as risk factors. Some of these risk factors are:

  • Being overweight or having a high BMI
  • Having too much salt in your diet
  • Having a close relative with high blood pressure
  • Drinking too much alcohol
  • Drinking too much caffeine
  • Not getting enough sleep
  • Being a smoker
  • Being over 65

There are also several health conditions that are known lead to high blood pressure in some cases. These are:

Taking certain medications such as steroids or the birth control pill can also increase the risk of developing high blood pressure.

If any of the above apply to you and you are concerned about your health, speak to a GP about arranging a blood pressure check. Free blood pressure checks are also available at most pharmacies within the UK, so checking your numbers is a very accessible service.

How to reduce high blood pressure?

If you have been diagnosed with higher than average blood pressure, your doctor will normally give you advice as to how to reduce and control it. They may prescribe medication and if so it is important to take this as advised.

There are several simple ways to help reduce your blood pressure, the majority of which involve simple changes to lifestyle. Some of these changes could be:

  • Eating less salt
  • Eating more fruit and vegetables
  • Incorporating regular exercise into your routine
  • Reducing alcohol intake
  • Quitting smoking or reducing the number of cigarettes smoked per day

Over time, small changes can make a big impact on your blood pressure readings – and your overall health.

How to check blood pressure

Blood pressure checks are the best way of keeping track of your levels and seeing whether lifestyle changes are necessary to improve your health.

There are several obvious ways of checking your blood pressure such as booking an appointment with your GP or other healthcare provider. You may even be able to access a pressure check at your local pharmacy. Certain workplaces may also over a pressure check service, so this is worth checking with your employer.

There are also devices available online that allow you to check your blood pressure at home. If diagnosed with high blood pressure your GP may advise one of these machines as a way of keeping your pressure in check.

The GP may also, as part of their diagnostic process, suggest you wear a blood pressure monitor that they would supply for 24 hours. This is known as ambulatory blood pressure monitoring (ABPM). The monitor would then take a reading every so often to get an idea of how your blood pressure changes over the course of your day.

Free blood pressure check pharmacy near me

The majority of mainstream pharmacies in the UK will offer a free blood pressure testing service. This can be an appealing and convenient option for those wanting to check up on their health who may struggle to access a GP appointment due to their working hours for example.

A quick Google search should allow you to find the nearest pharmacy to you that offers this service. You may even be able to drop in when out doing your food shopping for the week or on the way to grab a coffee with a friend. This makes keeping an eye on your health easier than ever before.

Life insurance with high blood pressure

Although high blood pressure is a serious medical issue, it should not impact upon the ability to access a great life insurance policy. In fact, any medical issue may make you more determined to secure cover to ensure your family is supported financially if your health was to decline, or in the worst case you pass away.

Our team are experts in securing life cover for those with pre-existing medical conditions such as high blood pressure. We can advise you on the best provider for your health conditions and source the most competitive pricing – so your policy is designed with your budget in mind!

Speak to one of our team for more information or check out our page on high blood pressure life insurance HERE.

*according to Blood Pressure UK

Useful resources

British Heart Foundation – High blood pressure symptoms and treatment

NHS – Blood Pressure Test

Blood Pressure UK – How to measure your blood pressure at home

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