Council’s call to ‘know your numbers’ on blood pressure

Lincolnshire residents are being urged to take action and check their blood pressure in a push to improve the public’s awareness during Blood Pressure UK’s national Know Your Numbers week (September 4-10).
Coun Wendy Bowkett.Coun Wendy Bowkett.
Coun Wendy Bowkett.

Coun Wendy Bowkett, Executive Councillor for Adult Care and Public Health, explained: “High blood pressure can increase your risk of having a heart attack and stroke, and so knowing your blood pressure could save your life. Many people with high blood pressure feel fine, and so you could have high blood pressure and not know it.

“There are many opportunities for people to have their blood pressure checked. For example, if they receive an invitation for an NHS Health Check or have a regular health check because of another long-term condition that they have. Some workplaces and pharmacies may offer blood pressure testing and people can also measure their blood pressure at home using a confirmed accurate and reliable monitor.”

In Lincolnshire, 138,044 people are on a hypertension general practice register (according to 2021/22 figures), over 17 per cent of the registered Lincolnshire population. However, it is estimated that nearly 200,000 people could have hypertension in Lincolnshire because some people have it, without knowing. (In the UK it is thought that six million people have high blood pressure and do not know it).

Andy Fox, the county’s Assistant Director of Public Health, added: “It’s quick and easy to test what your numbers are with a reliable monitor either as part of a health check with your GP or local pharmacy or you can keep a regular check yourself at home. The monitor provides two numbers, and ideally, you should have a blood pressure reading between 90/60 and 120/80.

“It’s worth reminding people of the importance of following a healthy lifestyle to help keep your blood pressure where it should be. Remember, you are at a higher risk of high blood pressure if: you eat too much salt, you don’t eat enough fruit and vegetables, you are not active enough, you are overweight, you drink too much alcohol or you smoke.”

The Blood Pressure UK Know your Numbers week reaches out to those who have high blood pressure and don’t know it, so they can get the treatment and support they need to bring it under control. The aim is to encourage everyone to Know Their Numbers and find those with undiagnosed and uncontrolled high blood pressure.

Better Lives Lincolnshire Integrated Care Partnership has a priority of reducing undiagnosed hypertension, to support the cardiovascular disease (CVD) clinical priority area. The NHS Long Term Plan aims to identify more people with undetected risk factors of CVD such as hypertension. Hypertension is one of the leading risk factors for premature death and disability, yet it is preventable and manageable through lifestyle and pharmaceutical interventions.

Some key stats:

  • At least half of all heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure
  • One in three adults in the UK have high blood pressure
  • Six million people in the UK have high blood pressure and don’t know it
  • High blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable health conditions.

High blood pressure can often be prevented by:

  • Eating a healthy diet – cutting down on salt and eating plenty of fruit and vegetables.
  • Limiting alcohol intake
  • Being a ‘healthy’ weight
  • Being active - adults should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as cycling or fast walking, every week.
  • Cutting down on caffeine
  • Stopping smoking.