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Health Exchange offers free blood pressure checks during Know your Numbers! Week
01/09/2008

The Health Exchange will be helping residents to avoid the blood pressure ‘time bomb’ by offering free blood pressure checks as part of Know your Numbers! Week 2008 (8-14 September).

The Afro Caribbean Medical Centre, Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, Central Library, One Stop Shopping Centre, Saheli Women’s Centre and Sure Start Summerfield are among 20 different Pressure Stations offering 40 free blood pressure testing sessions across the Heart of Birmingham area.

These will be among the 3,000 official ‘Pressure Stations’ offering free blood pressure checks as part of Know your Numbers! Week, the nation’s biggest blood pressure testing event run by UK charity the Blood Pressure Association (BPA).

16 million adults in the UK have high blood pressure - that’s one in three - but more than five million of them are unaware of it because the condition has no obvious symptoms.

Uncontrolled high blood pressure causes strokes, heart attack and heart failure, and can also lead to kidney disease and dementia. However, once detected, the condition can be successfully treated.

Kay Tandy, Health & Wellbeing Lead for Working Age Adults at Health Exchange said: “The Blood Pressure Association’s Know your Numbers! Week 2008 is a great opportunity for us to raise awareness about the dangers of high blood pressure. Having regular checks is the only way to know what your blood pressure is. So we hope that local people will come along to our Pressure Stations for a free blood pressure check to know their numbers and then lower them if they need to. Our Health Exchange Supporters and Trainers will be available to advise people on adopting a healthier lifestyle and how to lower their blood pressure.”

Mike Rich, Executive Director of the Blood Pressure Association, said: “We are delighted that Health Exchange is taking part in Know your Numbers! Week 2008 to help raise awareness about this important health issue.

“During this year’s campaign we are asking ‘Are you at risk from the ticking time bomb?’ That’s because uncontrolled high blood pressure is like a hidden time bomb which can cause stroke, heart attack and heart failure.

“That’s why we are urging all adults to take control and reduce their risk of this silent killer by having a free blood pressure check during Know your Numbers! Week. It's quick, free and painless and could save your life.”

To find out more about the campaign, or for a free blood pressure information pack, visit the Know your Numbers! website at www.bpassoc.org.uk/kyn or call 020 8772 4994. 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 (11am-3pm, Mon-Fri).

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 (11am-3pm, Mon-Fri).

ENDS

Notes to Editors:

  • For more information on Know your Numbers! Week or on high blood pressure, contact the Blood Pressure Association’s Press Office on 020 8772 4993/4984, or email mgederon@sgul.ac.uk.
  • For further information on Health Exchange, to arrange for a photo or for your reporter to have their blood pressure checked, please contact: Sue Turton, Operations Director at Health Exchange on 0121 558 3535, email sue.turton@healthexchange.org.uk
  • The Blood Pressure Association 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. The charity recently won the healthcare category of The Charity Awards 2008 for its work on the Know your Numbers! campaign. For more information visit the charity’s main website at www.bpassoc.org.uk, call head office on 020 8772 4994 or contact our information line on 0845 241 0989
  • The Health Exchange is a Community Interest Company (CIC) which works with a wide range of diverse ethnic community groups in the Birmingham area to promote issues such as lifestyle, wellbeing and health management. Health Exchange is dedicated to improving information accessibility and support. Its vision is to build a world-class health information and support service based on the principles of choice and personalisation and serving the whole population. They engage with key organisations and utilise modern marketing and communication methods, alongside personal contacts, to reach all sectors of the community, particularly excluded groups. They also work with local Universities and Colleges to offer training opportunities and career pathways to local community members so they can support local communities by empowering people to improve their health and wellbeing.

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

  • A healthy blood pressure is a level of less than 120/80.
  • 140/90 is the level used to diagnose high blood pressure in all adults. If your blood pressure is consistently at or above this level you will need to lower it and should book an appointment with your G.P.
  • High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to have a check.
  • You can lower your blood pressure by having a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.

The BPA’s Top Tips for a Healthy Blood Pressure

  1. Cut down on salt – don’t add it and remember to check food labels to ensure you don’t eat more 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?
  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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