18 Sep GET TO KNOW YOUR NUMBERS!
Know your numbers week is all about finding out more about your blood pressure, free checks are being given to 250,000 adults this week! Your blood pressure is just as important to know as your height and weight and you need to take action if yours is not in a healthy range. This is the perfect opportunity to raise the issue of blood pressure in the workplace and to encourage your colleagues to find out more and get checked!
WHAT IS BLOOD PRESSURE?
When you have your blood pressure measured, you are given 2 numbers. The first larger number is the systolic reading and the second smaller is the diastolic. The systolic is the pressure in your arteries during the heartbeat and the smaller number is the pressure between beats when the heart is relaxed, so you have the greatest and least pressure in your arteries measured.
WHY IS BLOOD PRESSURE IMPORTANT?
High blood pressure, or hypertension causes there to be increased stress on the walls of your arteries, this increases the workload of the heart as well as causing unhealthy tissue growths within the arteries. Eventually the heart muscle thickens and enlarges which causes it to weaken, potentially leading to heart failure. This high pressure also causes damage within the organs it travels through, especially the kidneys potentially leading to permanent damage. Another major risk factor of hypertension is a stroke, it is thought that 60% of strokes could be prevented by reducing blood pressure.
BUT I FEEL FINE!
Hypertension is called “the silent killer” for a reason, often people do not show any symptoms and are completely unaware that there is a problem unless they get their blood pressure checked, or in worst case scenario when they have something like a stroke! Although there are risk factors for hypertension, anyone could be affected so even if you don’t think you’re at risk your best bet is to get it checked. The sooner that hypertension is caught the better, as you can reduce any future damage.
HOW CAN I AVOID HYPERTENSION?
Your risk of hypertension increases if you smoke, are overweight, regularly consume foods high in salt, drink too much, are stressed and as you get older. For some people, blood pressure may still be a problem no matter what they do and it might be necessary to take medications. Hypertension medications are one of the most frequently prescribed types of drug and are highly effective in reducing blood pressure to a healthy level. It is important to go and see our GP if your blood pressure is high to find out your options for reducing it.
Find out more about know your numbers week and where you can get your blood pressure checked here There are also free downloadable resources for spreading the message in your workplace. You can buy a blood pressure monitor for your break room or canteen for as little as £20, along with a chart you can create a self check station for you and your colleagues!
If you want help with planning your next steps towards a healthier and happier workplace, including help with planning and delivering health initiatives, then get in touch to become one of our partner organisations