Know Your Numbers! Week 2016

Checking Your Blood Pressure Could Prevent 45,000 Heart Attacks or Strokes, Saving £850million, Says Charity Blood Pressure UK



Wyre Forest, Birmingham, Leeds and County Durham Revealed as Hypertension Hotspots – with over half a million people combined in these towns and cities alone still undiagnosed with hypertension

According to research by charity, Blood Pressure UK, 1 in 3 people (16 million people)[1] in the UK are living with high blood pressure (the single biggest cause of death) – and yet 5 million people remain undiagnosed[2].

As part of Know Your Numbers! week, Blood Pressure UK is urging the public to regularly check their blood pressure as it’s estimated that by finding these people over the next 10 years, a staggering 45,000 heart attacks or strokes could be prevented, saving £850million in NHS and social care costs[3].

New research also reveals that people from the most deprived areas are 30%[4] more likely than the least-deprived to have high blood pressure with Wyre Forest (307,010 people), Birmingham (282,200 people), Leeds (193,000 people) and County Durham (144,500 people) being among the UK’s worst regional ‘hypertension hotspots’ (i.e. the estimated number of people in each area with hypertension).[5]

Of these town and cities, over half a million people (567,010) have undiagnosed hypertension – known as the ‘silent killer’ because it has no symptoms until you have a cardiovascular event such as a stroke or heart attack, which can cause severe disability, dementia or even death.

High blood pressure, which is largely preventable, accounts for approximately 12% of all GP consultations in England – costing the NHS over £2bn every year. Reducing the blood pressure of the nation as a whole over 10 years could save the health service and associated social care £850m alone.[6]

High blood pressure is the biggest risk factor for stroke and heart attacks yet 63% of the population do not know their blood pressure numbers. Key risk factors leading to high blood pressure include; excess weight, eating too much salt, alcohol and physical inactivity.

Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK says: “It is a travesty that blood pressure, one of the most preventable and treatable conditions, is still one of the leading causes of death, and that those from poorer backgrounds are even worse off.  Having your blood pressure checked is one of the biggest steps that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke and heart attacks and yet many are taking unnecessary risks with their health. The simple message is have your blood pressure checked at least once a year.”

The Know Your Numbers! campaign is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing event held at Pressure Stations around the country from 12-18 September 2016. Volunteers hosting the ‘Pressure Stations’ provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control.

Katharine Jenner, CEO of Blood Pressure UK says “High blood pressure may not have any symptoms, but strokes and heart attacks do.  After you have had your blood pressure checked, you can make changes to reduce your risk, such as eating less salt, taking more exercise and drinking less alcohol – it’s never too late.”

Jamie Waterall, National Lead for Cardiovascular Disease Prevention, Public Health England, said: “Getting a blood pressure check is particularly important for people over the age of 40, when cardiovascular risk generally increases. Going to your NHS Health Check appointment when invited is just one of the ways you can know your numbers and get an idea of your heart health.

“Know Your Numbers! Week is a fantastic prevention initiative. We are happy to be supporting this by setting up blood pressure stations for staff to use in some of our PHE sites.” 

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 stroke and heart attacks. 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] Health Survey for England 2003. Department of Health publication available at

[2] Public Health England: New opportunities to tackle high blood pressure in London. December 2015

[3] Public Health England: New opportunities to tackle high blood pressure in London. December 2015

[4] Public Health England: New opportunities to tackle high blood pressure in London. December 2015

[5] Public Health England: 2014/15 hypertension profiles

[6] Public Health England: New opportunities to tackle high blood pressure in London. December 2015