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09/09/15

Know your numbers! Week

Know your numbers! Week

Clinical leaders in Bradford are urging local people to ‘Know your numbers’ and get their blood pressure checked during the national Know your numbers! Week (14 – 20 Sept).

NHS Bradford Districts and NHS Bradford City Clinical Commissioning Groups (CCGs) are encouraging residents to visit their local ‘pressure station’ for a free blood pressure test, or visit their local pharmacy or GP practice to get it checked out.

Known as the silent killer, high blood pressure affects around 30% of people across England. Often going undetected until far too late, high blood pressure can lead to heart attack, stroke or even death.

Research from the Blood Pressure Association shows almost three quarters of adults don’t know their blood pressure numbers. This means they are taking an unnecessary gamble with their health, as uncontrolled high blood pressure causes stroke and heart attack.

One of Bradford Districts CCG’s key priorities is to reduce people dying or suffering long-term illness from heart disease – which is the major cause of death in Bradford.

To help combat heart disease and stroke in people who are in risk groups, the CCG has launched the Bradford’s Healthy Hearts campaign. It is being developed over three years targeting three main areas: vascular disease, atrial fibrillation and heart failure.

So far, more than 5,000 patients have been changed to a more effective statin which reduces the risk of stroke or heart attack, and patients are receiving a more detailed assessment by their GPs. And 500 people have been put on medication to massively reduce the risk of stroke in atrial fibrillation (AF): a condition caused by an irregular heartbeat.

Bradford’s Healthy Hearts has also launched a programme to try to identify some of those people who have had high blood pressure in the past; and invite them for a further assessment at their GP practice if appropriate. A second part of the blood pressure programme will focus on trying to treat high blood pressure better.

Parts of the campaign are now being extended into the City area, so more patients benefit from early detection of problems and know more about how to stay healthy. People can find out more at: www.bradfordshealthyhearts.co.uk

In the meantime, people can have a simple blood pressure test at their local GP practice or pharmacy which will tell patients if their blood pressure is normal, high or low.

Dr Youssef Beaini, clinical lead for cardiovascular disease at Bradford Districts CCG, said: “High blood pressure is one of the largest causes of premature death and disability due to potentially fatal strokes, heart attacks, heart failure or even kidney failure it causes.

“However, it is largely preventable, over 120,000 heart attacks and strokes a year in the UK could be avoided if people lowered their blood pressure – the first step is a simple, painless, free, two minute test. By encouraging people to know their numbers, we can target high blood pressure in Bradford and offer advice on how to reduce it.”

Know your numbers! Week is the nation’s largest annual blood pressure testing and awareness event. It takes place in September each year and provides free checks for around 250,000 adults across the UK.

Since its launch in 2001, Know your numbers! Week has ensured more than 1.5 million people have had their blood pressure checked so that they know their blood pressure numbers in the same way as their height and weight.

To find your local pressure station visit: www.bloodpressureuk.org

Blood pressure fast facts:

1 in 3 adults in the UK has high blood pressure.

Only a third are aware they have the condition.

High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms - that's why it's called the silent killer.

The only way to find out if you have high blood pressure is to get tested.

High blood pressure causes 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks.

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for kidney disease and dementia.

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