Know Your Numbers! Week 2015



Millions urged to ‘make every second count’ and get a quick, free, and painless blood pressure check during Know Your Numbers! Week

(14-20 September 2015)

A shocking 29% of people spend more time worrying about their finances than their own health according to a survey undertaken by charity Blood Pressure UK as part of its ‘Know Your Numbers! Week’ campaign.

The survey[1] has revealed that finances topped the list of what most Britons worry about, followed closely by their children (17%), then their own health third, at just 15%, yet just a couple of minutes spent thinking about health could save their life.  

The independent survey of over 1000 Britons also showed that they spend most time working (26%) or surfing the internet (17%), but if they had a few extra minutes of time in their day, rather than undertaking a potentially life-saving blood pressure check (11.6%), top of their list of things to do would be to make a cup of tea (44%)!

In addition it revealed that a shocking 33% of people haven’t had their blood pressure checked in the last year as they don’t think it affects them and 25% don’t even consider high blood pressure as a health issue.

The Know Your Numbers! campaign is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing event and this (it’s fourteenth) year’s aim is to highlight that in the time it takes to boil a kettle, you could have taken a blood pressure reading which might save your life. A shocking 16 million people in the UK suffer from high blood pressure, which is the biggest risk factor for stroke and heart attacks, yet 63% did not know their blood pressure numbers.[2]

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman at Blood Pressure UK, said: “We wanted to find out what people were spending their time doing rather than spending time thinking about their health and checking their blood pressure. This year we are urging everyone to make every second count - it’s quick, free, painless, and could save your life.

“Over half of the estimated 16 million people in the UK living with high blood pressure are unaware they have the condition, as it is symptomless.  The only way to ‘Know Your Numbers’ is to have a blood pressure test at one of our free Pressure Stations in your area, your GP, local pharmacy, or by using a home blood pressure monitor”. 

High blood pressure 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. Volunteers hosting the ‘Pressure Stations’ provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control.

Katharine Jenner, Chief Executive of Blood Pressure UK, added: “With so much happening in our lives it is often difficult to find the time to prioritise our health, but a quick free check of your blood pressure could be all it takes to prevent more serious issues developing later on in life.

“We’re grateful to everyone who supports this campaign and want this year to be the busiest yet, so are urging everyone to stop by your local pharmacy, local Pressure Station, GPs surgery or by using a home blood pressure monitor.”

Professor Kevin Fenton, Public Health England’s Director of Health and Wellbeing said: “Know Your Numbers! week is a fantastic initiative, helping to identify people living with high blood pressure but who are undiagnosed and raising awareness of this silent killer. 

“There are a number of things you can do to find out your blood pressure numbers, such as attending an NHS Health Check when invited, or visiting your local pharmacy for a check-up. You can also look at changing your lifestyle habits such as losing weight, exercising more, eating a healthy diet and cutting down on salt.

“Public Health England is committed to play its part to help better prevent, detect and manage high blood pressure, working with our many partners.”

Mike Ellicock, CEO of National Numeracy said: “Recent analysis suggests that at least 61% of the UK population do not have the numeracy skills needed to maintain their health. This is why we are supporting Know Your Numbers! week 2015, as it is vital to understanding your blood pressure - but if you struggle you are not alone and at National Numeracy we are here to help!

We have built a great tool, called the National Numeracy Challenge which is free and confidential, and thousands of people have started using it to improve their everyday maths skills. Know Your Numbers! week is the perfect time to give it a try.”

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, email or visit the website at or to contact the Blood Pressure UK Press Office, call Sarah Wallace on 07870210025 or email

Notes to Editors:

Additional top line statistics:

  • 42% of Britons don’t think about blood pressure when thinking about their health
  • 40% of Britons would be prepared to spend five minutes on having a blood pressure check

Additional regional breakdown of research:


Top issue that they spend the most time worrying about

Top activity that they spend the most time on a average day

% of people who think about blood pressure when thinking about their health

% of people who had their blood pressure checked in the last year


Finances (35%)


Working (27.5%)



Northern Ireland

Finances (34.6%)


Working (42.3%)




Finances (29.6%)


Working (31.5%)



South West

Finances (28.6%)

Working (23.1%)



West Midlands

Finances (30.8%)

Working (20.2%)



North West

Finances (29.8%)

Working (27%)



North East

Finances (43.2%)

Working (25.6%)




Family’s health (23%)

Working (21.9%)



East Midlands

Finances (33.3%)

Working (31%)



East England

Finances (27.2%)

Working (25.6%)



South East

Finances (29%)

Working (28.2%)




Finances (26.7%)

Working (31.4%)



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.
  1. Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.
  2. 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.
  1. 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] Independent survey commissioned by Blood Pressure UK, undertaken in August 2015 of 1001 Britons in the UK

[2] Data based on 9,250 readings taken from monitoring forms during Know your Numbers! Week 2014