Blood pressure: Know your Numbers

The NHS in Gloucestershire is urging people aged 40 and over to get 2024 off to a healthy start by dropping in at a community location for a blood pressure check.

One Gloucestershire’s Information Bus and the Outreach Vaccination and Health Team, with support from Gloucestershire’s Healthy Lifestyles Service, will be out and about from Saturday 13 January to Friday 19 January at locations across the county.

People can drop in for a blood pressure check and a chat with members of the team about how to make positive changes to their health or wellbeing and get further support if needed.

A blood pressure check is simple, quick and painless, and it could save your life.

Dr Graham Mennie, local GP and Clinical Lead and Chair, Circulatory Clinical Programme Group, NHS Gloucestershire: “High blood pressure is a major cause of heart attacks and stroke. Around one in three adults have high blood pressure, but many don’t realise it because it often doesn’t have any symptoms until it’s too late.

“That’s why it’s so important to take the time to find out your numbers and start making healthy lifestyle changes or taking medicines if you need them to help bring your blood pressure down.”

Oonagh Wilson, Clinical Lead, Community Outreach Vaccination and Health Team at Gloucestershire Health and Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “January is traditionally the time of year when people commit to healthy resolutions, like losing weight or doing more exercise. Having a simple health check and being aware of key stats like your blood pressure is a good first step in thinking about your health and wellbeing and making changes to help prevent things like heart attacks and strokes.

“Our fantastic health team will be out and about in the community all week, offering simple health checks, including blood pressure, and chatting to people about simple changes they can make to their lifestyle, such as stopping smoking, improving their diet or increasing exercise.”

Community drop-in dates for Know your Numbers Week

  • Saturday 13 January, 10am-3pm
    Cheltenham High Street (outside Marks & Spencer)
  • Monday 15 January, 10am-3pm
    The Cross, Gloucester
  • Tuesday 16 January, 10am-3pm
    Bishop’s Cleeve Library
  • Wednesday 17 January, 10am-3pm
    Gloucester Cathedral
  • Thursday 18 January, 10am-3pm
    Tesco, Lydney
  • Friday 19 January, 10am-3pm
    Hester’s Way, Cheltenham (outside the shops on Edinburgh Place)

*If you can’t make any of the above dates, find out how else you can access a BP check here: High blood pressure (hypertension) – Diagnosis – NHS (www.nhs.uk)

Rebecca’s story

Last year the Community Outreach team gave more than 750 BP checks at drop-in health check events, with around 40 people referred to their GP for further support.

One of those people, Rebecca, had only dropped in to get her spring Covid booster, but took up the offer of a blood pressure check. Her blood pressure was found to be high and, with Rebecca’s permission, her GP was informed. Within 24 hours she received a call from her GP, who arranged to see her in clinic the following day.

Rebecca’s blood pressure was taken again and it was found to be borderline. She was also feeling generally unwell, so was referred for a chest X-ray, which identified she had an enlarged heart.

Her GP prescribed her medication to help control her high blood pressure and heart condition and carried out blood tests. These revealed Rebecca also had poor kidney function and a number of infections.

Rebecca said: “It is so amazing what a community event can lead to – I only went along to get my spring Covid booster. I’m now on medication to help control my blood pressure and heart condition. I’m so grateful to the team who offered me the check. If I hadn’t taken up the offer, I wouldn’t know about my heart and kidney issues.”

To find out more about the importance of knowing your numbers, including how to access a blood pressure check, or how to check your BP yourself, visit the One Gloucestershire website: Blood Pressure: Know Your Numbers : NHS Gloucestershire ICB (nhsglos.nhs.uk)

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