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People of Cheshire encouraged to Know Your Numbers

Know Your Numbers 2020

The NHS in Cheshire is urging people to familiarise themselves with their blood pressure readings as part of Know Your Numbers Week 2020.

Although Coronavirus (Covid-19) and its key symptoms rightly remain at the forefront of people's minds, high blood pressure continues to be a silent killer which can lead to heart disease, stroke and other serious illnesses.

Due to continuing social distancing guidance, Dr Sinead Clarke, Associate Clinical Director for NHS Cheshire Clinical Commissioning Group, is this year encouraging the people of Cheshire to use home testing kits where possible.

"Around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most don’t know it," she said. "High blood pressure doesn’t have any symptoms so the only way to find out is to have a blood pressure check.

"Home monitoring offers a way for you to take control of your health, feel confident and reduce the pressure on the NHS at the same time. It provides a practical way for you to Know Your Numbers without visiting your GP or pharmacist, and it really can save lives.

"Only once you Know Your Numbers can you get support to bring your blood pressure under control."

As a general guide, ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg.

High blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher, however different ranges can apply among certain patient groups.

People are at increased risk of high blood pressure if they:

  • are over 65
  • are overweight or obese
  • are of African or Caribbean descent
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • eat too much salt and not enough fruit and vegetables
  • don't do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or caffeine-based drinks
  • smoke
  • don't get much sleep or have disturbed sleep

The following lifestyle changes can help to lower high blood pressure:

  • reduce salt consumption and eat a healthy diet
  • cut down on alcohol – the Chief Medical Officer advises it is safest not to drink more than 14 units per week on a regular basis
  • lose weight if you are overweight
  • exercise regularly
  • cut down on caffeine
  • stop smoking
  • try to get more sleep – most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day