Up to 31,000 people in Liverpool have got high blood pressure and do not know it.
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.
People from the most deprived areas are 30% more likely than the least deprived to have high blood pressure, and the condition disproportionately affects some ethnic groups including black Africans and Caribbeans.
As part of the Cheshire and Merseyside Health and Care Partnership, Liverpool City Council is one of the organisations helping to promote a new campaign called ‘Know Your Numbers!’ to help raise awareness throughout September.
The campaign is in its 23rd year and this year’s theme is “Make the time, ease your pressure” to encourage people to check their blood pressure as a first step to preventing heart attacks and strokes.
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.
How to ‘Know Your Numbers!’
It’s recommended that all adults over 40 should have their blood pressure tested at least every five years, so any potential problems can be detected early. If you are diagnosed with high blood pressure, it’s important to have your blood pressure tested more regularly – ideally once a year.
Community pharmacies are able to offer a free blood pressure check for people aged over 40 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 referral to a GP if the reading is abnormal.
Some patients may be invited to attend their GP Practice or local community pharmacy for a blood pressure check and a medication review.
Patients aged 40 -74 are also encouraged to attend for their NHS Health Check when they are invited.
Blood pressure can be checked at home using a home blood pressure monitor.
Liverpool City Council is also partnering with hospitals, employers and community organisations to offer free blood pressure checks to staff and residents in venues across the city. Staff will be talking to people about the things they can do to lower blood pressure, and keep it low; quitting smoking, reducing salt intake, maintaining a healthy weight, being active and cutting back on alcohol and caffeine.
Cabinet Member for Social Care and Health, Cllr Harry Doyle, said: “Tackling high blood pressure is a great place to start in helping residents to live happier, healthier and independent lives.
“I’m proud that our Public Health team and our partners are actively working together to help our residents to know their numbers.”
Director of Public Health for Liverpool, Professor Matthew Ashton, said: “Around a quarter of people have high blood pressure, but many people don’t know it.
“In Liverpool, we estimate that there are around 31,000 people who don’t know they have high blood pressure and who are therefore potentially storing up future health problems.
“We have blood pressure checks available in more places than ever, and I would strongly encourage people to take advantage of the opportunity to know your numbers.”