Know your numbers refers to a person’s blood pressure reading and with one in three adults in the UK having high blood pressure, it really pays to know your numbers.
During Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers Week! (5-11 September 2022) Melan Magazine went along to one of their pop-up blood pressure reading locations to find out more and to see how easy it is to have a blood pressure reading.
A staggering one in three adults have high blood pressure in the UK and six million people either don’t know they have it or aren’t receiving any treatment. There are usually no symptoms of the condition and so often the first sign of it could be a stroke or heart attack. Half of all strokes and heart attacks are the result of high blood pressure.
Research shows high blood pressure is more prevalent among Black people, it is also more likely to develop at an earlier age than it does in white people.
“A staggering one in three adults have high blood pressure in the UK and six million people either don’t know they have it..”
Blood Pressure UK want people to know these tragedies can be prevented with medications and lifestyle changes. Every September volunteers give free blood pressure checks to thousands of passers-by to prevent heart attacks and strokes during Know Your Numbers! Week.
Kinetik Wellbeing is a supplier of equipment designed to aid people in managing their health from home. They joined forces with Blood Pressure UK to offer readings to as many people as possible. I went down to one of their pop up locations based in Westfield Stratford, London on 10 September to see what it was all about and to know my numbers.
High blood pressure costs the NHS £2.1 billion every year and as well as the main mission to save lives, Blood Pressure UK is also trying to save the NHS some of that money. They recommend that everyone should monitor their blood pressure and record it regularly.
It can be a bit daunting to arrange a blood pressure check if you are worried about your results, the team at this pop up however were reassuringly knowledgeable. They knew exactly how to put me at ease and what the next steps were if my reading was a little higher than it should be.
The Know Your Numbers! campaign’s aim is to reach those who have high blood pressure and don’t know it. It gives people the chance to get the treatment and the support they need to lower their blood pressure and to lead a long and healthy life. The idea is that it’s best to know sooner rather than later and make those small lifestyle changes now.
Football legend and Blood Pressure UK campaign supporter Ian Wright added his voice to the call. He said: “It is vital that we all become much more aware of the need to have regular blood pressure check-ups and make relatively simple changes to our lives. For example, if we limit our salt intake, eat more fruit and vegetables and become more active we will reduce our risks of having a heart attack or stroke.”
Another campaign supporter Rudolph Walker, who plays Patrick Trueman in EastEnders, said: “I’m supporting the Know Your Numbers! campaign because high blood pressure is an important issue that affects so many people, particularly those in the African Caribbean community.”
Getting to know my numbers
It only takes two minutes to get a reading. What’s more, Kinetik Wellbeing have home testing monitors for sale from as little as £19.99 so you can regularly check your numbers without having to leave your own home. Although getting a reading done by a professional for the first time can help you understand how to do it yourself.
The volunteer who took my blood pressure reading slipped on the arm band and tightened it around my upper arm, before pressing the button on the monitor. Within a minute she was able to tell me that I had “perfect numbers” – 119 / 82 mm/hg and a pulse of 89, even though I had no idea what those numbers meant, I was glad they were considered perfect.
“The idea is that it’s best to know sooner rather than later and make those small lifestyle changes now.”
If you are going to test at home, there are blood pressure charts that can be used to check your numbers against and to find out exactly where you stand. Ideal blood pressure is between 90 – 120 / 60 – 80 mm/hg. Pre high blood pressure goes up to 140 / 90 mm/hg and anything more than that is considered high blood pressure.
If you do a home test and get a high reading you should call your doctor to tell them and make an appointment to have a chat about the results. Then changes to your lifestyle could help reduce it for example, minimising salt, caffeine and alcohol intake. Quitting smoking or getting more exercise will help too.
Learn more about how to know your numbers by visiting the Blood Pressure UK website.