Did you know that nearly half of the UK can memorise their national insurance and car registration numbers. Over a third know how many sugars their friends take in their tea or the age of their pet. However, amazingly only 1 in 10 people know their blood pressure numbers. This is what Blood Pressure UK, a charity that is dedicated to lowering the nations blood pressure discovered from a study they commissioned to see how many of us know our blood pressure numbers.
One in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, that’s 16 million people, but as many as a third of the people who have high blood pressure don’t know it This is mainly because there are no obvious symptoms, giving this condition its rather sinister reputation as the UK’s biggest silent killer.
In response to this lack of awareness, Blood Pressure UK will be holding an annual blood pressure testing event and awareness week, called: Know Your Numbers. This year the campaign will take place from 15th – 21st September, when hundreds of nationwide organisations sign up to provide free blood pressure tests and information at venues located throughout the country, known as pressure stations. These pressure stations can be found in pharmacies, workplaces, GP surgeries, hospitals, health clubs, leisure centres, shopping centres and supermarkets.
Blood Pressure UK have estimated that throughout the week of their campaign over 100,000 people will get a free blood pressure test and information to understand how to manage blood pressure. According to the charity it is important that we all know our blood pressure numbers, as high blood pressure can cause strokes, heart attacks, heart failures and even kidney failure. All of which could be prevented by lowering blood pressure and keeping it controlled.
The good news is that are many ways to lower blood pressure, including weight management, diet and exercise and medicines. Being the right weight helps to lower blood pressure as the heart doesn’t have to work so hard. Eating healthily; reducing your salt intake, eating more fruit and vegetables and keeping to alcohol limits all lower blood pressure. Being more active and taking regular exercise also lowers blood pressure by keeping your heart and arteries in good condition.
Reducing experiences of stress can also prevent rises in blood pressure and for this reason there is evidence that massage can be beneficial for managing high blood pressure. There are several clinical studies that have been undertaken that show that massage therapy can reduce hypertension (high blood pressure) and its associated symptoms. The conclusions from these studies say that massage is a safe, non-invasive and soothing treatment for hypertension, particularly for people that experience stress on a frequent basis. If treated regularly, massage patients demonstrate long term improvement in stress levels and heart rate.
Many companies provide on site massage treatments for their employees, due to the benefits of this intervention for helping to reduce stress. In addition, massage treatments can have other benefits including improving workplace health and wellbeing, raising health awareness, boosting motivation and morale and improving performance and engagement.
There is plenty of information available, which says that high blood pressure can be a dangerous condition if it is not managed properly. So, the first step to being in control, is to take a test to know your numbers. High blood pressure is defined as readings that consistently show numbers higher than 140 mmHg systolic, the pressure measured when your heart beats to pump blood out and 90 mmHg diastolic, the pressure of the blood when your heart rests in between beats, which reflects how strongly your arteries are resisting blood flow.
With Blood Pressure UK providing thousands of blood pressure stations throughout the country, it should be easy to take this first step.
To find out more about the work of Blood Pressure UK and the Know Your Numbers campaign visit www.bloodpressureuk.org. On this site you can find out where your nearest blood pressure station is located.
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