If you don’t know what your blood pressure is, this month is the time to find out.
It’s May Measurement Month, a global campaign aimed at persuading people to have their blood pressure checked.
Millions of people live with high blood pressure yet a third of those don’t know about it. High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms which is why it is called the ‘silent killer’. The only way to know you have the condition is to get your blood pressure measured.
You might have been invited for an NHS health check by your GP practice. Maybe you’re having yours checked by your community pharmacy, or you’re dropping into a mobile checking service in your high street, or you’re using a friend’s blood pressure monitor. It doesn’t matter what the circumstances are, just as long as you know what your numbers are and what they mean.
High or raised blood pressure can be warning signs about possible serious future health problems, such as stroke, heart disease, heart attack and even dementia. High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for strokes. The good news is that if you know you have high blood pressure, you can take steps to tackle it, from adjusting your diet to increasing your activity levels. Some people may need to take blood pressure medication to help them bring theirs under control. High blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable health conditions, allowing individuals to make a real difference to their own health and wellbeing.
The fact that this is a global campaign gives an idea of not only how big a problem high blood pressure is but also how important it is for people to know about it.
The condition can be caused by a number of factors, including poor diet and activity levels – contributing to obesity. Eating too much salt is particularly bad. Genetic factors can also cause high blood pressure, so you may have inherited the condition. Your mental wellbeing is important too, as stress can cause spikes in your blood pressure.
People at greater risk of high blood pressure/hypertension
Those at greater risk of high blood pressure/hypertension, include:
- people who are overweight
- people who smoke
- people who have low levels of physical activity
- people from South Asian, African or African Caribbean backgrounds
Drinking too much alcohol raises your blood pressure and the more you have, the greater the impact. If you’re regularly drinking too much alcohol you’re also likely to gain weight, which also leads to higher blood pressure.
So if you don’t know your numbers, take action this May Measurement Month. We’d also appreciate your help in spreading the word to family members, friends and other colleagues.
You’ll find what you need to know about measuring your blood pressure here: Blood pressure - Do you know your Numbers? | Frimley Health and Carewhere you’ll find information on how to check your blood pressure, what the numbers mean and what you can do next.