Know your numbers week

Know your Numbers Week is an opportunity for the nation to test and gain awareness of their blood pressure. There will be thousands of pressure stations set up across the nation offering the public free blood pressure checks. Every year over 250,000 adults in Britain have a free blood pressure check during the event. Some people have had their blood pressure checked for the first time in their lives. This year the event will take place between the 13 -19th of September.

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The Blood Pressure Association UK, which organises the week, is a research charity that promotes awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure. It encourages organisations to set up their own individual Pressure Stations across the country as well as spreading awareness of monitoring and maintaining healthy blood pressure.

It is the 10th anniversary of the event this year so why not use the opportunity to pop along and get tested? All the pressure stations have the resources to make sure everyone is tested, is given a handy record card and is provided with an advice leaflet on blood pressure.

The test monitors the pressure of blood in the arteries. If this pressure is high it can cause narrowing of arteries and blood vessels.

One in three adults in the UK, that's 16 million, have high blood pressure, a third of those who have the condition aren't aware of the problem because of the lack of symptoms.

This can lead to damage in the brain or the heart. If your blood pressure remains too high over a period of time without being treated you will be at increased risk of developing heart attack, stroke and heart failure. High blood pressure is also a factor in kidney disease and dementia.

The aim of the program is very much about raising awareness of the health issues surrounding blood pressure. This is particularly important because high blood pressure has no symptoms, which is why it is important to get checked out. It has become known as the 'silent killer' for this reason. However, the condition, once diagnosed, can be treated and often prevented.

There are lots of ways you can help yourself like lowering your intake of salt, eating plenty of fresh fruit and vegetables, drinking alcohol in moderation and losing weight if you need to.

If you do have high blood pressure your GP may prescribe medication to help lower it. With some fairly simple lifestyle changes this treatment can help you live a longer and healthier life. In any case, the best way to avoid problems is to have regular check-ups.