Cheshire East Council is offering free blood pressure checks to help residents find out if their heart is happy and healthy.
The move is part of Know Your Numbers! Week - a national campaign running from 9-15 September. During this period the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event is held at ‘Pressure Stations’ around the country. The council is working collaboratively for Know Your Numbers! Week with Cheshire Health and Care Partners.
An estimated 21,000 people in Cheshire East unknowingly have high blood pressure. High blood pressure has no obvious symptoms but it is linked to strokes and heart attacks and increases the risk of kidney disease and dementia.
Many key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are largely lifestyle-related, such as eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight, drinking too much alcohol and not taking enough exercise. High blood pressure is also more likely as you get older, if it runs in your family and if you are of African, Caribbean or South-Asian descent.
During the awareness week, local residents have the opportunity to access a state-of-the-art, touch-screen health kiosk. This kiosk calculates blood pressure as well as body mass index, body fat, heart rate and heart age. The health kiosk has been secured by the public health team at Cheshire East Council as part of a successful bid to the British Heart Foundation to enable further detection of high blood pressure in the community.
Funding has been secured to keep the kiosk in the borough for 12 months and it will start its journey at Crewe Lifestyle Centre during Know Your Numbers! Week. As part of the bid, staff and volunteers from local connected community centres have also been trained to take blood pressure checks and these will be offered at a local centre near you soon.
Dr Matt Tyrer, acting director of public health at Cheshire East Council, said: “The message to residents is to get your blood pressure checked and help to keep your heart happy and healthy. High blood pressure is a largely preventable and treatable condition but contributes to the leading causes of death.
Having your blood pressure checked is an important step to knowing and reducing your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”
Hemini Bharadia, Know Your Numbers! Week campaign manager at Blood Pressure UK, said: “Know Your Numbers! Week is the perfect opportunity to have your blood pressure taken for free and put you in control of your health.
Make sure to spread the message to the rest of your family too, as high blood pressure does not discriminate by age or gender.”
To find your nearest pressure station online visit www.happy-hearts.co.uk
Many pharmacies across Cheshire East will also be able provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control and will measure your blood pressure accurately. A blood pressure check is quick, free, painless and could save your life. You can also have a free blood pressure check in your GP surgery or use a home testing kit.
You can lower your blood pressure and help to keep your heart happy with lifestyle changes and if necessary by taking medication as directed by your doctor.
Blood Pressure UK’s top five tips for a healthy blood pressure are:
● Cut down on salt. Reducing your salt intake is 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; and
● 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.
Know your numbers! Week is part of a bigger, annual awareness campaign from Blood Pressure UK. This year’s theme is living well for longer. For more information visit http://www.bloodpressureuk.org/Home