What is your Blood Pressure?

Most adults in the UK have blood pressure readings in the range from 120 over 80 (120/80) to 140 over 90 (140/90).The first point is that the 'ideal' blood pressure for one person may be different for another. However, blood pressures that fall outside the normal range of 120 over 80 (120/80) can be indicative of disease.

Generally speaking, we should all ideally have a blood pressure below 120 over 80 (120/80). At this level there is a demonstrably lower risk of heart disease or stroke. If your blood pressure is above 120/80mmHg, you will need to take steps to bring the pressure down.

Free Blood Pressure Checks

UK charity the Blood Pressure Association is has arranged for health professionals in Oxfordfordshire to offer free blood pressure checks at a variety of convenient venues or ‘Pressure Stations’ in the area. During last year’s Know your Numbers! Week, 69% of people tested in Oxfordshire didn't know their blood presure numbers and 44% had high blood pressure readings.

Almost 1,500 Pressure Stations are being held nationwide, with venues in high street and supermarket pharmacies, shopping centres, markets, sports centres and other popular community venues. 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and a third of them have no idea as it has no symptoms. That’s around 5 million people whose lives are actually at risk because they don’t know their numbers.

High blood pressure nearly always has no symptoms and for many people is ‘out of sight and out of mind’, but its effects can be devastating. It is the UK ’s biggest silent killer, being responsible for 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks. If it is detected though, it can be successfully managed.

Adults should know their blood pressure numbers in the same way they know their height and weight and the only way to find out what they are is to have a blood pressure check. Free checks will be available to all adults.

A quick, painless test can mean the difference between life and death or serious disability.

Pressure Stations in Oxfordshire include (search at www.bpassoc.org.uk/kyn for pharmacy opening hours):

  • Trident Training, Trident Business Park, Didcot, Oxfordshire
  • Mid-Counties Co-operative pharmacy, Unit 5 Barberry Place, Bicester Oxon, OX26 3HA
  • Lifestyles Gym & PT studio with Therapy Rooms, W10 Innovation Centre, Howbery Park, Benson Lane, Wallingford, OX10 8BA
  • Mid-Counties Co-operative pharmacy, Market Street, Charlbury, Oxon, OX7 3PL

For an entire list of Pressure Stations in Oxfordshire and to find your nearest, visit: www.bpassoc.org.uk/kyn

Paul Newman, Chief Executive of the Blood Pressure Association, says,

“We are delighted so many organisations are taking part in Know your Numbers! Week 2011. Everyone that takes part helps to emphasise the importance of knowing your blood pressure numbers and by offering the free checks could really be saving lives.”

If you have a question about high blood pressure and would like to speak to someone over the phone, call the Blood Pressure Association’s Information Line on 0845 241 0989.

Facts about blood pressure from UK charity the Blood Pressure Association:

  • One in three adults in the UK – 16 million – has high blood pressure. A third of these (5 million) don’t know they have the condition.
  • High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you have the condition is to have a blood pressure check.
  • Untreated high blood pressure is the major risk factor for stroke and heart attack. It is also a risk factor for heart and kidney disease and vascular dementia.
  • A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less. If readings are consistently at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed, and action should be taken to lower it.  
  • Although sufferers may feel healthy, uncontrolled high blood pressure can progressively damage their vital organs.
  • You can lower your blood pressure by having a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.

The Blood Pressure Association’s ‘Top five tips for a healthy blood pressure’:

  1. Cut down on salt – don’t add it when cooking or at the table and check food labels to make sure you don’t eat more than 6g a day (a teaspoon). Remember 75% of the salt we eat is already in the food we eat, so check the labels before buying.
  2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five different portions every day
  3. Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.
  4. Exercise regularly – that doesn’t have to mean the gym, how about a regular lunchtime walk? 30 minutes five times a week is ideal, but if you are unsure about taking up exercise and how much, ask your GP.
  5. Drink alcohol in moderation – no more than 3-4 units a day for men and no more than 2-3 units for women (a pint of normal strength beer = 2 units, a medium glass of wine = 2 units).
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