Know Your Numbers! Week 2014

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Know Your Numbers! Week 2014

Know Your Numbers! 2014 - missing millions at risk of a stroke or heart attack


Eight million people in the UK unaware they are at risk of a stroke or heart attack because of their blood pressure

People of all ages from across the UK are being urged by charity, Blood Pressure UK, to stop by one its ‘Pressure Station’ during the week of 15 September to have a free blood pressure test.

Know Your Numbers! Week is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing event and this year aim is to highlight that there are eight million people in the UK that are living with high blood pressure but not being treated for it – both young and old – putting them at risk of stroke and heart attacks[1].

Katharine Jenner, Chief Executive Officer at Blood Pressure UK, said: “16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure, but worryingly only half of them are aware of this and are being treated. These ‘missing millions’ are a ticking time bomb; putting themselves at high risk of having a stroke or a heart attack. Statistics from our Know Your Numbers! Week in 2013 found that 11% of 16-24 year olds and 17% of 25-34 year olds had high blood pressure and around a quarter of all younger men had a high normal blood pressure reading putting them at risk of developing high blood pressure which in turn could lead to a heart attack or stroke. [2]

“However, luckily, if detected high blood pressure can be successfully managed and returned to a healthy level which is why we are urging everyone of all ages to go along to our ‘Pressure Stations’ this month and get to know their numbers. Our results from last year showed only 29% of people aged 16-34 knew their blood pressure numbers compared to 38% aged over 55, so we still have a lot of work to do so this year we are doing our best to search out those ‘missing millions’!”

A shocking 1 in 3 adults has high blood pressure and a third of them have no idea, as it has no symptoms. It is the UK’s biggest silent killer, responsible for 60% of strokes and 40% of heart attacks. High blood pressure is also a risk factor for kidney disease and dementia.

Thousands of places across the country which have teamed up with the charity as part of the charity’s ‘Know Your Numbers! Week’. As well as testing for blood pressure, volunteers hosting the ‘Pressure Stations’ will provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK, added: “It’s great that so many organisations are taking part in Know Your Numbers! Week 2014. With our busy lifestyles, many people are unaware that they have high blood pressure, especially in the younger generation, so there is a real need to raise awareness.

“The free checks will be offered across the UK in pharmacies, supermarkets, libraries, hospitals, GP surgeries, health clubs, leisure centres and even football grounds. We are grateful to all the organisations that support this campaign as these free and quick checks could really be saving lives. We hope this year will be the busiest yet.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing said: “High blood pressure is often symptomless, yet if untreated it can lead to serious health problems. Taking a simple test during this awareness week is a good opportunity to find out about your blood pressure, as a first step to improving your health. There are a number of things you can do to reduce your blood pressure such as losing weight, exercising more, eating a healthy diet and cutting down on salt.

 We know that more can be done to improve the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure in England. This is why Public Health England and partners will be setting out our support for more joint action later this year.”  

This year the charity is being supported in its Know your Numbers! Week campaign by HeartAge, an online calculator test designed to give you an overall idea of the health of your heart.

Holly Whelan, CEO of HeartAge, said: “Our data shows that more than 60% of people who took the HeartAge test in the UK didn’t know their blood pressure numbers. We want to increase the number of people who know their blood pressure because the more accurate the numbers you put in to the HeartAge test, the more accurate your heart age result will be.

“HeartAge makes the health of your heart personally relevant and that’s important as independent clinical research has shown that people who know their heart age are more likely to live a healthier lifestyle and have improved health one year on. That’s why we support Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers! Week.” [3]

Laura Harris, Senior Marketing Officer (Prevention) for Stroke Prevention agrees and, said: “High blood pressure is the single biggest risk factor for stroke. We estimate that over half of all strokes in the UK are caused by high blood pressure.

“There are no symptoms of high blood pressure; getting tested is the only way to know if your numbers show you are may be at risk of stroke. It’s such a quick and painless thing to test and high blood pressure can often be lowered by making simple lifestyle changes.”

For further information on Blood Pressure UK and Know Your Numbers Week, go to:

To find your nearest check visit

Media contact information: For more information on Know Your Numbers! Week, call 020 7882 6255/5793, or email or visit the website at

To contact the Blood Pressure UK Press Office, call Sarah Wallace on 07870210025 or email

For more information on HeartAge please contact Rachael Rees, 02031764718 or 07500082362,

About Blood Pressure UK

Blood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity working to lower the nation’s blood pressure. The charity provides information and support for people with high blood pressure and raises awareness to prevent the condition. For more information visit the charity’s website at If you have a question about your blood pressure, call 020 7882 6255. Blood Pressure UK is the operating name of the Blood Pressure Association, charity reg. 1058944.

Facts about blood pressure from Blood Pressure UK:

  • One in three adults in the UK – 16 million – has high blood pressure. It is estimated that nearly a half (8 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. 

  • If your blood pressure is raised, you can lower it by leading a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.

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

  1. Cut down on salt – Reducing your salt intake it the quickest way to lower your blood pressure.  Don’t add it when cooking or at the table and check food labels – aim to eat less than 6g a day.

  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. If you are unsure about taking up exercise, 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).

[1] Health Survey for England 2011

[2] Data based on 10,513 readings taken from monitoring forms during Know your Numbers! Week 2013

[3] Data from users of the Heart Age tool was collected between July 2009 and December 2011. Only 38% of the 862,486 people in Great Britain who used the HeartAge tool knew their blood pressure numbers. HeartAge

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