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Do you know your numbers? Check your blood pressure this September

During September, Liverpool City Council is getting behind a national blood pressure awareness-raising campaign – with residents being encouraged to get checked and to ‘Know Your Numbers!’

High blood pressure is responsible for half of all heart attacks and strokes in the UK, but due to a lack of symptoms, it remains under-detected – so it’s never been more important for people to know their blood pressure numbers and get early treatment if needed.

The Covid-19 pandemic had a huge impact on cardiovascular disease (CVD) prevention services (services that look after your heart and arteries) with a reduction in testing, monitoring and treatment.

These services have also been one of the slowest healthcare areas to recover, so in response, 2022 is the year of: Measure – Modify – Manage.

  • Measure your blood pressure to see if it’s under control.
  • Modify your lifestyle if necessary.
  • Manage your blood pressure and your health to beat ‘the silent killer’.

Blood pressure readings include a diastolic (lower) and systolic (upper) number as the heart pumps blood around the body; the higher the numbers, the harder your heart is working. The ideal range is between 90/60mmHg and 120/80 mmHg – high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher; or 150/90mmHg or higher if you are aged over 80.[1]
People from the poorest parts of our communities are 30% more likely to have high blood pressure, and the condition disproportionately affects some ethnic groups including black Africans and Caribbeans.

How to ‘Know Your Numbers!’

It’s recommended that all adults over 40 have their blood pressure properly tested at least once every five years, so any potential problems can be detected early.

  • Community pharmacies are able to offer a free blood pressure check for people aged over 40 who don’t already have a high blood pressure diagnosis, and residents are being encouraged to contact their local pharmacy to arrange a time to pop in for a check. The appointment will include lifestyle advice and further testing and possible referral to GP if the reading is abnormal.
  • Some patients may be invited to attend their GP Practice or Community pharmacy for a blood pressure check and medication review.
  • Patients aged 40 -74 are encouraged to attend their NHS Health Check if they are invited.
  • Blood pressure can also be checked at home using a home blood pressure monitor.

If  you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to have your blood pressure tested more regularly – and at least once a year.

Being more active and taking regular exercise lowers blood pressure and keeps hearts and arteries in good condition – so as part of The Know Your Numbers! campaign, Liverpool’s Public Health team is also working with employers in the region to support staff who are less active due to their roles, such as bus drivers.

During September Stagecoach and Arriva NW are installing an interactive Wellpoint Kiosk at their local bus depots to allow staff to take a mini health check, including a blood pressure test, and receive advice on how to lower their blood pressure.

To support the wider campaign, the Blood Pressure UK roadshow van will also be visiting Liverpool and taking blood pressure checks on Wednesday 7 September at The Royal Albert Dock (10 am to 6 pm).

Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, Cllr Frazer Lake said:

“Around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most don’t know it. It doesn’t have any symptoms, so the only way to find out is to have a blood pressure check.

A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high. By knowing your numbers, it means people have the opportunity to make lifestyle changes to bring their blood pressure under control, such as getting help to quit smoking, drinking less than 1 alcoholic drink a day on average, and moving around for at least 20-30 minutes per day.”

Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Professor Matthew Ashton said:

“Finding and treating high blood pressure is one of our biggest public health priorities, and presents the greatest opportunity for the NHS to save lives over the next 10 years.

We currently have around 75,000 patients on hypertension registers in Liverpool – so to save lives we need more early diagnoses and treatment of high blood pressure to prevent future chronic and life limiting illnesses. The most important thing is that we all take steps to keep our blood pressure in check, through lifestyle changes or support from a medical professional, and that starts with knowing your numbers!”

Matt Davies, Managing Director for Stagecoach Merseyside said:

“We’re pleased to be involved in the “Know Your Numbers” campaign. The health and wellbeing of our employees is so important to us, and we’re pleased to be supporting the campaign by having the blood pressure monitor kiosk at our Gillmoss and Birkenhead depots.

It’s vital that everybody keeps an eye on their blood pressure and this will help our drivers and other employees at the Gillmoss and Birkenhead depots have an easy way of doing just that.”