Thursday, October 6, 2022

Health: Know Your Numbers and lower your risk of heart attacks and strokes 

THIS ‘Know Your Numbers’ week (5 -11 September 2022) people across mid and south Essex are being encouraged to have their blood pressure taken and, if necessary, take action to lower their risk of heart attacks and strokes. 

Around a third of adults living in mid and south Essex have high blood pressure. High blood pressure can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke. *Certain people are more at risk and people in these groups are particularly being particularly encouraged to ‘Know their numbers’ this week.  

There are several ways that residents of mid and south Essex can ‘Know their numbers’ and have their blood pressure taken: 

Dr Peter Scolding, Assistant Medical Director, Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System said: 

“Home blood pressure monitoring is an effective and inexpensive way to keep blood pressure under control and the evidence behind it continues to get stronger. It gives you a way to take control of your health, feel confident and take the pressure off the NHS at the same time, as there’s no need to visit your GP, practice nurse or pharmacist in person though do follow the advice and links below, or check-in with them, if you find that your blood pressure is high. It puts you in the driver’s seat, and it really can save lives.” 

If you do find that your blood pressure is high, there are lots of things that you can do to help reduce your blood pressure and stay healthy, these include: 

  • Monitor your blood pressure at home and get regular check-ups. 
  • Losing some extra weight and watching your waistline. 
  • Exercising regularly. 
  • Maintaining a healthy and balanced diet. 
  • Reducing the amount of salt in your diet. 
  • Limiting your alcohol intake. 
  • Quitting smoking. 
  • Making sure you get a good night’s sleep. 
  • Reducing stress. 

For more information on what to do, if you find your blood pressure is high visit High blood pressure (hypertension) – Treatment – NHS (www.nhs.uk) or visit your local PCN website for more local information Find Your Primary Care Network (PCN) – Mid and South Essex Integrated Care System (ics.nhs.uk)  

*It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are things that can increase your risk. You might be more at risk if you: 

  • are overweight 
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables 
  • do not do enough exercise 
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks) 
  • smoke 
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep 
  • are over 65 
  • have a relative with high blood pressure 
  • are of black African or black Caribbean descent 
  • live in a deprived area 

Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.  

The national charity Blood Pressure UK has lots of information about what causes high blood pressure and what you can do to lower it: Blood Pressure UK  

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