More than 49,000 people in Liverpool are at risk of a stroke, heart attack or kidney disease in Liverpool because they do not know they have high blood pressure.
Now a special roadshow – organised by Public Health Liverpool and Liverpool CCG – is taking to the streets of the city to encourage people to check their blood pressure, as part of the national ‘Know Your Numbers’ campaign.
High blood pressure is the most common long term health condition – and second only to smoking as the highest risk factor in causing premature death.
Around 15 percent of people in Liverpool (68,214) have been diagnosed with high blood pressure – but it is believed one in four of the population has the condition, meaning there are another 52,645 residents unaware they are at risk.
Key factors include eating too much salt, not eating enough fruit or vegetables, being overweight and not exercising enough.
Councillor Paul Brant, Cabinet member for health, said: “High blood pressure is a silent killer and many people just do not know that they are at risk.
“The number of people that are undiagnosed in Liverpool is staggering and so we are working hard to spread the word and encourage people to get their blood pressure checked.
“It can be a ticking time bomb and lead to conditions such as a stroke or heart disease, but the good news is that it can easily be treated by improving diet, losing weight or taking exercise.
“That’s why we’re getting out and about to spread the message about the importance of knowing your numbers.”
Dr Maurice Smith, GP from Mather Avenue Surgery in Allerton and Healthy Liverpool’s ‘Living Well’ clinical lead said: “People who have high blood pressure wouldn’t necessarily have symptoms unless their levels are dangerously high and then they suffer from headaches, nausea and impaired vision.
“Testing a person’s blood pressure is very simple and straight forward and takes minutes. We can then determine whether someone’s levels are normal, borderline or high and the reading would determine what course of action we take.
“We very much work in partnership with our patients and it may be that if the reading is borderline we could advise lifestyle changes such as getting more active, giving up smoking, reducing salt intake and alcohol, losing weight and eating a healthier diet. We may ask to see them in three months to re-test to see if the levels have reduced.
“When blood pressure levels are high we would consider various medication options that reduce blood pressure as part of a shared decision-making process with the patient.”
All councillors in Liverpool are being offered a blood pressure check at the next full council in the Town Hall on Wednesday 20 September.
The roadshow will be at the following locations between now and the end of September:
Saturday 16 September
Anthony Walker Foundation, LCVS Building, 4th floor, 151 Dale Street, L2 2AH, from 10am – 3pm
Monday 18 September
Museum of Liverpool, Pier Head, Liverpool, from 9am – 3pm
Tuesday 19 September
Garston Library and One Stop Shop, Bowdon Road, from 10:30am – 1:30pmRoyal Liverpool Hospital, ‘R Clinic’ Ground Floor, Prescot Street, L7 8XP, from 9:30am – 4pm
Wednesday 20 September
BBC Radio Merseyside, Hanover Street, from 11am – 3pm
Epsom Community Centre, Good Wood Street, from 11am – 2pm
Saturday 23 September
EFC Fans Zone, Goodison Park, from 10am – 3pm
Thursday 28 September
Liverpool Central Station concourse, Ranelagh Street, from 9:30am – 4pm
Friday 29 September
Holy Family Catholic Primary School, Upper Essex Street, Toxteth, from 1:15pm – 3:15pm
The following 31 pharmacies in Liverpool are also promoting Know Your Numbers and taking blood pressure:
• Aigburth Pharmacy Fulwood Green Medical Centre, Jericho Lane, Liverpool, L17 5AR
• Deysbrook Pharmacy West Derby Medical Centre, 1 Winterburn Crescent, Liverpool, L12 8TQ
• Gateacre Pharmacy Unit 1, Gateacre Local Centre, 31 Gateacre Park Drive, Liverpool, L25 1PD
• Green Lane Pharmacy 167-169 Allerton Road, Liverpool, L18 6HG
• Greencross Pharmacy West Speke Health Centre, Blacklock Hall Road, Liverpool, L24 3TY
• Watterson Pharmacy 79 High Street, Liverpool, L15 8HF
TOP FIVE TIPS FOR A HEALTHY BLOOD PRESSURE
• Cut down on salt – Reducing your salt intake it 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.
• Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five different portions every day.
• Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.
• 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.
• 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.