A massive 63% of UK adults aged between 30–50 don’t know their current blood pressure numbers and could be living daily with undiagnosed blood pressure – increasing their chances of stroke, heart attack and heart failure which, ironically, are amongst their most feared health conditions (i.e. heart attacks, 31% and stroke, 24%). That’s according to a new consumer poll by national charity, Blood Pressure UK to mark Know Your Numbers! Week (4-10th September).
With unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet contributing to more young people in their 30s, 40s and 50s being diagnosed with hypertension and around 1 in 3 people in the UK now living with high blood pressure, the charity is urging all adults (of all ages) to make the time to check their blood pressure – ideally with a home blood pressure monitor as it’s the easiest way to find out your blood pressure numbers. Pharmacists are also increasingly offering free blood pressure checks.
This prompted me to give it a go (see below).
Since high blood pressure is largely symptomless and the single biggest preventable cause of death in the UK, the more people test themselves, the more chance they have of controlling it and avoid unnecessary premature death, says Blood Pressure UK. Currently, 6.5 million people in the UK remain undiagnosed.
While age is one of many factors in rising blood pressure as our vascular system, which includes the heart and blood vessels, changes, it does not discriminate. That is why ALL adults of ALL ages need to Know Their Numbers. In fact, 72% of respondents agree that blood pressure is not only a concern for older people (i.e., those over the age of 50+).
Despite this and the high percentage of respondents who do NOT know their blood pressure numbers, 68% agree that knowing their blood pressure numbers is important whilst two-thirds (66%) of those surveyed claim to understand that persistently high blood pressure can lead to a heart attack.
‘My Blood Pressure’ developed alongside clinical experts and brought to you by Kinetik Wellbeing – with the exclusive support of Blood Pressure UK – will also launch as part of Know Your Numbers! Week (4-10th September). This user-friendly (and free) service empowers users to take control of their heart health and gives them the tools to understand and manage their blood pressure effectively. For more details visit: mybloodpressure.co.uk
Substantial evidence supporting the use of home blood pressure monitoring has shown it gives a better reflection of blood pressure, as being tested in somewhere like a GP surgery or pharmacy can make patients feel anxious and can affect the result. What’s more, it allows patients to monitor their condition more easily in the long term. According to NHS England, regular home blood pressure monitoring across a population of 50,000 patients could prevent up to 500 heart attacks and 745 strokes over five years.
Research studies also show that eating too much salt is also a major cause of high blood pressure, particularly the rise in blood pressure with age. As a nation, if we cut one gram of salt from our average daily salt intake, this would cause a fall in blood pressure and there would be approximately 6,000 fewer deaths from strokes and heart attacks each year in the UK.
Phil Pyatt, CEO of Blood Pressure UK comments:
“Given high blood pressure does not show any clear symptoms – hence being dubbed the ‘silent killer’ – all adults, regardless of their age, need to take control of their health by checking their blood pressure regularly, either at home, at a pharmacy or at their GP. Furthermore, simple improvements in diet and lifestyle such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetables and doing more exercise can really help keep blood pressure down.”
Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK says:
“Half of all strokes and heart disease are due to high blood pressure which can easily be reduced, particularly by reducing your salt intake and if necessary, taking tablets which rarely have no side effects. This will reduce your risk of developing a heart attack, heart failure or a stroke, which can either be fatal or cause life-changing disabilities. This is completely avoidable; it is not the time to dither and delay – it could save your life.’
To find out more visit: bloodpressureuk.org