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Free blood pressure checks during ‘Know your numbers’ week

Do you know your blood pressure numbers? If not, then have your blood pressure checked for free during Know Your Numbers week.

Knowsley Public Health, in partnership with Blood Pressure UK, will be running an awareness campaign from 10 to 16 September 2018 to encourage people to have free blood pressure checks. It’s estimated there are around 16,000 people in Knowsley with undiagnosed high blood pressure. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, which is why is it often referred to as the silent killer.

A number of local venues across Knowsley are offering free blood pressure checks during Know Your Numbers Week.

Leisure and Community Centres

  • Knowsley Leisure and Culture Park, Huyton, Monday 10, September –  8 am to 11 am & 5.30pm to 8 pm
  • Northwood Community Centre– Monday, 10 September – 8 am to 11 am & 5.30 pm to 8 pm
  • Kirkby Leisure Centre, Tuesday 11 September – 8 am to 11 am & 5.30pm to 8 pm
  • Halewood Leisure Centre, Wednesday 12 September – 8 am to 11 am & 5.30 pm to 8 pm
  • Stockbridge Village Neighbourhood Centre, Thursday 13 September – 8 am to 11 am & 5.30pm to 7pm
  • Prescot Soccer Centre,Friday 14 September – 8 am to 11 am & 5.30 pm to 7 pm

Many local pharmacies are offering free checks and you can also have your blood pressure checked in your GP surgery, or use a home testing kit.

Blood pressure is a measure of your blood as it is pumped around the body. It can be low, normal or high.  High blood pressure has no symptoms, but people with high blood pressure are three times more likely to develop heart disease or stroke and twice as likely to die from these as people with a normal blood pressure.

This year, Blood Pressure UK cautions that a poor diet and excess salt intake is leading more young people to develop high blood pressure putting them at risk of having an early stroke. Help to stop strokes and other illnesses by knowing your numbers just like you know your height and weight.

Figures show the proportion of strokes in working age people (those aged 25 to 64) has increased, despite an overall drop in the number of strokes.

Blood pressure can be lowered by changes to your lifestyle and if necessary taking medication as directed by your doctor.

Top tips for reducing your blood pressure include:

  1. Cut down on salt – Reducing your salt intake is the quickest way to lower your blood pressure.  Don’t add it when cooking or at the table, avoid using stock cubes, gravy and soy sauce, check food labels and avoid processed foods high in salt – aim to eat less than 6g a day.
  2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five different portions every day.
  3. Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.
  4. Exercise regularly – that doesn’t have to mean the gym, how about a regular lunchtime walk? 30 minutes five times a week is ideal. If you are unsure about taking up exercise, ask your GP.
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation – up to 14 units a week for both men and women – a glass of wine or a pint of beer is 2-3 units.

Dr Sarah McNulty, Knowsley’s Public Health Consultant says: “The message to people is to take charge of their health and get their blood pressure checked. Blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but remains one of the leading causes of death. 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.

“Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in younger patients with high blood pressure, often as a result of too much salt and poor diet. If you start making small changes to your lifestyle when you are young, such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetable, taking more exercise and keeping to a healthy weight, you will stay healthier and prevent strokes and heart disease.”

If you are  registered with a Knowsley GP and are aged between 40 and 74, you can also sign up for a free NHS health check which looks at your risk of developing heart disease, type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and stroke,

The simple check includes taking your blood pressure, measuring your cholesterol by a simple finger-prick test, as well as talking about your family history and your current lifestyle. Telephone your GP surgery to make an appointment.

Other helpful information can be found on the Blood Pressure Association website.

For local help and support, visit the Healthy Knowsley website.

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