Do you ever stop to and think about your blood pressure?
High blood pressure, also known as Hypertension, often has no symptoms. In fact the first sign could be as serious as a heart attack or stroke!
High blood pressure is one of the most common conditions in this country, in fact more than one in four adults in the UK have the condition and that's why we are encouraging you to 'Know Your Numbers'
Monitoring your blood pressure is easy and can be done at home, at your local pharmacy or by a practice nurse at your GP surgery. Taking just five minutes to measure your blood pressure could save your life.
We hope this page helps you understand why it's so important you Know Your Numbers and have also compiled a booklet you can download and share HERE
If you would prefer to watch our video.
Know the risks
If your blood pressure is too high, it can do massive damage. It narrows the blood vessels which brings with it serious risks. There are certain things in our lives that can increase our risk of having high blood pressure including whether we smoke, our family history, other long term conditions such as Diabetes and in some cases ethnic background. If you are South Asian, African or African Caribbean in the UK, your risk of developing some heart and circulatory diseases can be higher. The British Heart Foundation has reliable and comprehensive information on risk factors and how many of them can be controlled or modified. If you are interested to know more click HERE
Ok I'm convinced - so how do I check my blood pressure?
You can take a blood pressure reading at home with an approved monitor (see below for more information on these) or you can visit a local pharmacy. If you decide to take your blood pressure at home there are a few things to remember so take a look at our video HERE. You may also find our poster useful. Click on the image above to download.
Want to go a step further? take this quiz to check your heart health and what your risk factor might be.
And how can my local community pharmacy help?
Since October 2021, community pharmacies across England have been able to offer an NHS blood pressure check service to people over 40, as an easy and convenient way for you to get your blood pressure checked.
If you are found to have a confirmed high blood pressure reading, the pharmacist can follow up with further monitoring, over a 24-hour period, and urgently refer you for further treatment if it should be needed.
Your blood pressure readings are sent to your GP from the community pharmacy, so your records can be updated and appropriate action taken. I
It's really worth popping into your local community pharmacy today to ask if they are providing the blood pressure check service.
So is my blood pressure reading too high?
If your blood pressure readings, from any setting, are consistently above 140/90mmHg you may have high blood pressure and should contact your GP practice for a review. High blood pressure can be treated by making a few lifestyle changes and you may be prescribed medication.
What can I do to make a change?
If you are keen to make a change there is plenty of support out there for you. The Better Heath website gives great tips on healthy diet and ways you can move more. It can also help you if you are looking to drink less.
Our dedicated Quit Smoking pages will tell what services are available to you locally to help you quit.
The Every Mind Matters website has lots of advice, hints and tips on how you can better look after your mental health, de-stress and improve your sleep patterns. Take the Mind Plan quiz to find out more.
As a guide, if your blood pressure is in the healthy range (129/84mmHg or less) it is recommend you get your blood pressure checked at least every 5 years.
If your blood pressure is on the higher side of normal (between 130/85mmHg and 139/89mmHg) it is recommended that you make lifestyle changes such as those we have suggested above and recheck within a year.
If your blood pressure is high or very high you should follow clinical advice on how often to monitor your blood pressure.
We encourage people to check their blood pressure at home for a more accurate reading. It is often more reliable than getting it checked at a hospital clinic or at your GP practice, as people tend to be more relaxed in their own surroundings. If you need help to know how to do this accurately you can watch our video below:
Buying a blood pressure monitor
To measure your blood pressure at home, you will need a home blood pressure monitor. You can buy a blood pressure monitor for as little as £10. If you are buying a blood pressure monitor, make sure it is approved for use in the UK.
To make sure your monitor is accurate, choose one that is accredited (usually stated on the BP machine box) or choose one that has been listed as validated for accuracy by the British Hypertension Society. This means that the digital monitor has gone through a series of tests to make sure it provides reliable results.
We hope that you have found the information on this page useful but if you want to know more the links below take you to more trusted sources of information.
The British Heart Foundation website provides essential tips to monitor and reduce your blood pressure alongside other useful information to keep your heart in good health.
For more information on how high blood pressure can contribute to a Stroke, or for those who are looking for Stroke information and support visit the Stroke Association website.
Remember if you would like to purchase your own monitor you can see a recommended list HERE.