Know Your Numbers Week

14 September 2012

Big-hearted pharmacist offers free blood pressure checks in Carrickfergus as part of a national campaign.

The Health Centre Pharmacy in Taylors Avenue will be giving quick tests during Blood Pressure UK’s Know Your Numbers! Week, which this year runs from 10-16 September.

Pharmacist Jonathan Lloyd is urging the community to get tested after statistics from campaign supporters All About Health revealed one in four people in the UK would only consider themselves at risk if they were overweight.

 “That is not the only cause,” said Jonathan. “Diet and lifestyle can also have a big impact. Eating too much salt or not taking enough exercise can also cause high blood pressure which is the most common cause of cardiovascular disease.”

 The pharmacy will have “pressure points” where visitors can -in to be tested, get advice and be handed heart stickers to show they know their blood pressure numbers.   

 Campaign organisers, Blood Pressure UK says monitoring is the only way to detect high blood pressure as there are usually no signs or symptoms. 

 Jonathan said: “It is a silent condition and people often adopt an ‘out of sight, out of mind’ attitude.

 “We want to make the whole community aware of the importance of having regular checks. People don’t need to make an appointment and workers can pop in on their lunch break.”

 He said ideally blood pressure should be 120 over 80 or less.

 “About one in 10 have a higher reading than this but there are helpful steps they can take. Cutting down on salt and eating five portions of fruit and vegetables a day can bring the reading down, as can doing 30 minutes of exercise five times a week.”

 He added that people should be monitored every year and more regularly if pressure is high or there is a history of the condition in the family. They should also record their numbers to note any sudden changes in their next check-up.

 A new blood pressure smart phone application is launching to coincide with Know Your Numbers! Week and will be available for free download via www.allabouthealth.org.uk to help track results.

 It’s important to know your numbers to monitor any changes. Particularly those who have low blood pressure, as a normal second reading could indicate a rise for that person.

 Jonathan said: “We encourage our customers to be aware of their numbers and monitor changes. The new application will flag up such changes which can be raised with their pharmacist and it also acts as a reminder for their next blood pressure check.”

 Mark Hooley from Blood Pressure UK said: “We welcome the support to drive home this important health message. Checks are quick and easy and visiting your local pharmacist allows you to walk-in off the street without having to book an appointment with the doctor.”