Know Your Numbers! Week 2017

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Know Your Numbers! Week 2017

More People are Having Strokes Younger

  • The proportion of strokes among younger adults is increasing
  • High blood pressure is responsible for approx. 60% of all strokes
  • Every day this September, at least 70 people under 75 years of age will die from a heart attack or stroke[1]
  • As 9 out of 10 strokes are preventable[2], Blood Pressure UK is urging the public to check their blood pressure as part of Know Your Numbers! Week – regardless of age

Ignoring health warnings, particularly about poor diet and excess salt intake, is leading more young people to develop hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) – putting them at risk of having an early stroke, warns charity Blood Pressure UK.

Figures show the proportion of strokes in working age people (those aged 25 to 64) has increased[3],[4] despite an overall drop in the number of strokes. Blood Pressure UK is urging the public, regardless of age, to check their blood pressure as part of Know Your Numbers! Week.

With unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet contributing to more young people in their 30s, 40s and 50s being diagnosed with hypertension, around 1 in 3 people in the UK are now living with high blood pressure (the single biggest cause of death) – with 6.5 million[5] people still remaining undiagnosed.

What’s more, between 2008 and 2016, around 5% of all deaths in working age men were due to stroke whilst for women the figure was 2%[6]

In September alone, almost 9,000 people in the UK[7] will die from a heart attack or stroke. A quarter of these will be people under 75, that’s around 70 people every day and most of these could have been prevented.[8]. A further 70 people a day will have a heart attack or stroke and survive, half of whom will have life changing disabilities. 

The Know Your Numbers! campaign is the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event held at ‘Pressure Stations’ around the country from 18-24 September 2017. Volunteers hosting the Pressure Stations provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control and will measure your blood pressure accurately.

Key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not enough exercise.

High blood pressure, which is almost entirely preventable, was responsible for approximately 75,000 deaths in the UK in 2015[9], and costs the NHS billions every year[10].

This comes as new analysis from Public Health England’s Heart Age Test (ref) shows that one in every ten men aged 50 (11%) has a heart age at least ten years older than they are and has a heightened risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke at a younger age.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK says: “High blood pressure kills thousands of people every year in the UK, and is almost entirely preventable.  By lowering the population’s blood pressure even a small amount, we could save the NHS over £1billion every year[11].

“As an individual having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK says: “High blood pressure does not discriminate on age – People are dying unnecessarily because they fail to take such simple steps to reduce their blood pressure.  Everyone is at risk and therefore it’s essential to know your blood pressure numbers.”

Shefalee Loth, Nutritionist at Blood Pressure UK says: Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in younger patients with high blood pressure, often as a result of too much salt and poor diet. If you start making small changes to your lifestyle when you are young, such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetable, taking more exercise and keeping to a healthy weight, you will stay healthier and prevent strokes and heart disease.”

Associate Professor Jamie Waterall, Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, PHE, said: “High blood pressure is the third biggest cause of early death and ill health in England. This is why it's so important to know our numbers, in the same way we would know our weight or height - it is arguably one of the most important numbers we should know as adults."

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

To find your nearest check visit


For further press information, case studies or spokespeople please contact David Clarke @ Rock-PR


T: 07773 225516

About Blood Pressure UK

Blood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity working to lower the nation’s blood pressure to prevent disability and death from stroke and heart disease. The charity provides information and support for people with high blood pressure and raises awareness to prevent the condition. Blood Pressure UK is the operating name of the Blood Pressure Association, charity reg. 1058944.

Facts about blood pressure from Blood Pressure UK:

  • 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 strokes, heart attacks and heart failure. It is also a major risk factor for kidney disease and dementia.
  • A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less.
  • A blood pressure of 121/81mmHg to 139/89mmHg is on the high side and lifestyle changes such as eating less salt, more fruit and veg and losing weight if necessary should be advised.
  • If readings are consistently at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed, and action should be taken to 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, avoid using stock cubes, gravy and soy sauce, check food labels and avoid processed foods high in salt – 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 – up to 14 units a week for both men and women – a glass of wine or a pint of beer is 2-3 units.

[1] Based on the PHE figure of 7,400 for England this works out as around 8,789 for the UK = 292 a day and a quarter of these are under 75

[2] Global and regional effects of potentially modifiable risk factors associated with acute stroke in 32 countries (INTERSTROKE): a case-control study. O'Donnell, Martin J et al. The Lancet , Volume 388 , Issue 10046 , 761 – 775

[3] has increased from 16.91% to 17.94% between 2013-2016 using ONS Death registrations summary tables - England and Wales 2008-2016 and NHS Digital, Hospital Episode Statistics for England. Admitted Patient Care statistics, 2013-16 .

[4] Age and ethnic disparities in incidence of stroke over time, The South London Stroke Register. Wang, Y et al.

Stroke. 2013;44:3298-3304

[5] Using the 16 million figure from PHE for England this has been extrapolated to give a figure of 19 million for the UK.

[6] ONS Death registrations summary tables - England and Wales 2008-2016

[7] Based on the PHE figure of 7,400 each month for England this works out as around 8,789 for the UK

[8] Based on 8,789 for the UK = 292 a day. A quarter of these are under 75 = 73.24

[9] Global Burden of Disease 2015 report

[10] PHE Tackling High Blood Pressure Plan

[11] PHE Tackling High Blood Pressure Plan

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