Knowing your numbers can reduce the risk of serious illness 

Somerset County Council’s Public Health Team is encouraging Somerset residents to get their blood pressure checked for ‘Know Your Numbers’ week 

The national campaign from Blood Pressure UK, aims to raise awareness of high blood pressure (hypertension), encouraging all UK adults to check their blood pressure at home over a week. In Somerset we estimate there are about 50,000 people with hypertension who do not know they have it, so this campaign gives them the chance to get the treatment and support they need to lower their blood pressure and lead a long and healthy life.

The Public Health Team have worked with the library service in Somerset to put in place a convenient, easy and free to access service – providing blood pressure monitoring kits that can be loaned from libraries across the county. The kits can be loaned for a fortnight allowing people to check their blood pressure, ‘at rest’, in their own home.

Related story: Over two hundred blood pressure monitors available in Somerset Libraries

Anyone who then discovers that they do have high blood pressure can take their results to their GP or other appropriate health professional, who can advise on the best intervention. The dangers of high blood pressure can be easily mitigated with the right medications and lifestyle changes. The monitors can also be used by people who know they have diagnosed hypertension to check if their lifestyle changes and treatments are keeping their blood pressure in the normal range and provide an update for their GP.

About 3 in 10 adults in Somerset have high blood pressure but 1 in 10 do not know it as it often presents with no symptoms. It is a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease (CVD) and significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke. Early detection and treatment can help people live longer, healthier lives.

Councillor Adam Dance, Lead Member for Public Health, Equalities and Diversity at Somerset County Council Health, said:

“High blood pressure usually has no symptoms but if left untreated, it can lead to serious illness. It can however be easily treated once identified, lowering the risk of developing those illnesses. That is why we are making blood pressure monitors widely accessible, by placing them in libraries for people to borrow free of charge without the need to visit a GP or health professional in the first instance.”

The blood pressure monitor kits include an information leaflet that explains how to check your blood pressure at home and what to do with the results – measuring blood pressure at home can be very useful to give a more accurate picture of what a person’s blood pressure is like. The monitors can also detect an irregular heartbeat which is another risk for cardiovascular disease.

For anyone who is not a library member it is really easy to join, either call into your local branch or go online at: https://lwc.ent.sirsidynix.net.uk/custom/web/registration/