NHS in Leeds urges public to know their numbers!

NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) is urging people to take the chance to get their blood pressure tested as part of Know your Numbers! week.

The week, which started on Monday 9 September, is Blood Pressure UK’s flagship campaign which aims to raise awareness of the risks of high blood pressure – it is part of their drive to encourage adults to know their blood pressure numbers.

Blood pressure is a measure of the force that your heart uses to pump blood around your body. It is the amount of pressure that is exerted on the artery walls as blood moves through them If your blood pressure is too high, it can narrow the arteries and blood vessels in your body and this can lead to damage to the brain or heart.

In Leeds undiagnosed high blood pressure affects up to 90,000 people and is one of the UK’s biggest causes of premature death and disability.

Dr Bryan Power, Clinical Lead for Long Term Conditions for NHS Leeds Clinical Commissioning Group said: “This week is a great opportunity for people to make sure they have their blood pressure tested – it is crucial that any problems with blood pressure are spotted early so that necessary measures can be taken quickly.

“In Leeds, we’re fortunate to have the ongoing Leeds Blood Pressure Wise project, working in partnership with Leeds City Council, in which eligible people can have their blood pressure checked at one of the participating pharmacies the city.

“High blood pressure that isn’t treated increases the risk of heart attacks, strokes and heart failure. High blood pressure usually comes without symptoms and many people remain unaware that they have it, which is why it is so important that people do take the opportunity to get their blood pressure checked.

“By having regular checks and keeping a record of your blood pressure numbers high blood pressure can be treated and prevented.”

Leeds Blood Pressure Wise is a British Heart Foundation funded project, aims to increase detection of undiagnosed high blood pressure, targeting people who may not visit their GP practice.

The service gives people the option of having a free blood pressure check, and anyone with raised blood pressure will be loaned a monitor to track their blood pressure across the course of a week. After follow up at the pharmacy, anyone displaying raised blood pressure will be directed to their GP.

Two Leeds pharmacies currently offer the service – Oakwood Lane (LS8) and Manor Park (LS13).  To be eligible people must:

  • be over 35
  • have no long-term health conditions which involve an annual blood pressure check (e.g. heart disease, diabetes)
  • not be pregnant
  • not have had a blood pressure check at a GP practice in the last 12 months
  • not have been diagnosed with high blood pressure.

Other pharmacies in Leeds also offer blood pressure checks but without the provision of loaning a BP monitor – please ask at your local pharmacy.

People aged 40-74 are also entitled to have a free NHS Health Check at their GP practice The check is aimed at preventing heart disease, stroke, Type 2 diabetes, kidney disease and certain types of dementia and even more. NHS Health Checks are a great opportunity to spot health warning signs and offer support and advice to reduce or manage any risks. Contact your local GP practice to see if you are eligible for the service.