Know Your Numbers Week
2021 sees the 21st anniversary of Know your Numbers! Week. Blood Pressure UK are focusing on the forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure and a golden opportunity to improve blood pressure control both now and in the future - they want to make this the year of home monitoring and they need your help to spread the word in your community. If you would like to be involved or simply share the message, find out how you can get involved below.
Here are just some of the reasons why everyone should Know Their Numbers.
1 in 2 strokes and heart attacks are the result of high blood pressure.
1 in 3 adults in the UK have high blood pressure.
1 in 2 adults with high blood pressure don’t know they have it or aren’t receiving treatment.
6 million people in the UK alone have high blood pressure and don’t know it.
£2.1 billion – that’s how much high blood pressure costs the NHS every year.
Because high blood pressure usually has no symptoms, the first sign of it could be a heart attack or stroke. It can cause kidney disease, dementia and other illnesses too. But these tragedies can be prevented with medications and lifestyle changes.
The Blood Pressure UK Know Your Numbers! campaign reaches those who have high blood pressure and don’t know it. It gives them the chance to get the treatment and support they need to lower their blood pressure and lead a long and healthy life.
How knowing your numbers can be life-changing: Olly's story
NHS Frimley Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) Communications Manager Olly Hemans knows all too well how monitoring your blood pressure can be life-changing.
Three years ago, home and work stresses impacted him severely and left him struggling with regular headaches and eyesight problems; only for him to realise after the help of a close nursing colleague and using her blood pressure monitor, his result was 170/110.
"The readings terrified me and I thought it was nothing more than fatigue-related, and I thought I was physically ok," says Olly.
After this startling realisation, Olly - who has worked in the communications and engagement team for NHS Frimley CCG for more than five years - then required immediate medical help the next day after not feeling well; securing a timely GP appointment.
With initial results showing slightly raised cholesterol but otherwise 'normal readings and a textbook' electrocardiogram, Olly was still recommended to make life-changing lifestyle changes.
"I've always enjoyed generally good health, so when you consider what high blood pressure can do if left unchecked - strokes, heart attacks etc - it was vital I made a change," adds Olly.
Following his blood test results and the GP's analysis that his blood pressure dropped dramatically after a short time of being seated and breathing deeply, instead of medication, Olly was advised to do gentle exercises, take country walks, make dietary changes, and practice yoga and mindfulness.
By seeking the right support and making tailored changes, Olly found just a few months later his blood pressure while raised, was much lower and admits knowing his numbers has really helped.
He says: "I feel much better and healthier than I did and I no longer suffer headaches or have the same eyesight problems.
"I would not have realised so soon that there was a problem if I hadn't have taken a quick and easy blood pressure test revealing those two scary numbers."
With a healthier diet, weight loss and a more active lifestyle - including mountain biking, occasional yoga and home weight training, Olly, who now uses his own 'quick and easy' blood pressure device, adds: "Now I know how important it is to test my blood pressure, I see it as a completely normal thing to do and a good indicator of my health."
Helping you to stay well
If you need support to maintain good health and wellbeing, you can stay well like Olly, by using our Helping you to stay well pages on the ICS website, here.
A guide to checking your own blood pressure