NHS Somerset and Somerset Council’s Public Health Team are encouraging Somerset residents to get their blood pressure checked for ‘Know Your Numbers’ week.
The awareness week, coordinated by Blood Pressure UK runs from 4 – 10 September and is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing and awareness-raising event.
This year the theme is ‘Make the time, ease your pressure’.
The national campaign aims to raise awareness of high blood pressure (hypertension), encouraging all UK adults to check their blood pressure at home over a week. In Somerset we estimate there are around 40,000 people with hypertension who do not know they have it, so this campaign gives them the chance to get the treatment and support they need to lower their blood pressure and lead a long and healthy life.
The Public Health Team have worked with the library service in Somerset to put in place a convenient, easy and free to access service – providing blood pressure monitoring kits that can be loaned from libraries across the county. The kits can be loaned for a fortnight allowing people to check their blood pressure, ‘at rest’, in their own home.
Anyone who then discovers that they do have high blood pressure can take their results to their GP or other appropriate health professional, who can advise on the best intervention. The dangers of high blood pressure can be easily mitigated with the right medications and lifestyle changes. The monitors can also be used by people who know they have diagnosed hypertension to check if their lifestyle changes and treatments are keeping their blood pressure in the normal range and provide an update for their GP.
Around 3 in 10 adults in Somerset have high blood pressure but 1 in 10 do not know it as it often presents with no symptoms. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, – but early detection and treatment can help people live longer, healthier lives.
Councillor Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset Council, said:
“High blood pressure usually has no symptoms but if left untreated, it can lead to serious illness. It can however be easily treated once identified, lowering the risk of developing those illnesses. That is why we have made blood pressure monitors widely accessible, by placing them in libraries for people to borrow free of charge without the need to visit a GP or health professional in the first instance.
“Knowing your numbers means you can start making healthy lifestyle changes to lower your blood pressure level and get it under control. So, it’s essential to make the time to check your blood pressure. By keeping a record of your numbers, this will help you and your GP to see how your blood pressure is responding to any treatments and lifestyle changes you make.”
Dr Solomon Lebese, Cardiovascular Clinical Champion at NHS Somerset said:
“Currently in Somerset, about 1 in 10 people have high blood pressure and they don’t know. Therefore, if we can increase the number of people checking their blood pressure, we can reduce around 250 related medical incidents over a 5-year period. Schemes like these blood pressure monitor borrowing schemes ensure that monitors are easily accessible within the community, and I would encourage people across Somerset to use them.”
For anyone who is not a library member it is really easy to join, either call into your local branch or go online at: https://lwc.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/custom/web/registration/