Know your numbers week! Do you know the risk of high blood pressure?

Somerset Health Checks are urging residents of Somerset to get their blood pressure checked for FREE during Know Your Numbers! Week – the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event held at ‘Pressure Stations’ around the country from 09-15 September 2019.

Staff hosting the pressure stations will be at multiple locations across the county. They will provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control and will measure your blood pressure accurately.

This comes as the charity, Blood Pressure UK cautions that ignoring health warnings, particularly about poor diet and excess salt intake, is leading more young people to develop hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) – putting them at risk of having an early stroke, especially when they don’t know their blood pressure numbers.

High blood pressure contributes to half of all heart attacks in the UK and is the biggest cause of chronic kidney disease. As high blood pressure usually has no symptoms people often don’t know they have it.

Because they don’t know they have it, it is never treated and, over a period of years, the blood pressure remains high and starts to damage the blood vessels.  This damage can lead to a heart attack, stroke, heart failure or kidney disease.

So, the important thing is to make sure that you know what your blood pressure is and if it is high that you receive treatment and stick to it.

An ideal blood pressure is:


But what do those numbers mean?

  • Systolic (top number) – is the force exerted during the contractual phase of the heart
  • Diastolic (bottom number) – is the force exerted during the relaxation phase of the heart


If the top number consistently exceeds 140mmHg and the bottom number exceeds 90mmHg you probably have high blood pressure. You may also have high BP if just one of the numbers is higher than it should be over a number of weeks.

If you have high blood pressure, this higher pressure puts extra strain on your heart and blood vessels. Over time, this extra strain increases your risk of a heart attack or stroke.

What cause high blood pressure?

For most people, there may be no single cause for their high blood pressure. We do know that your lifestyle can affect your risk of developing it. You are at a higher risk if:

  • You eat too much salt
  • You do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • You are not active enough
  • You are overweight
  • You drink too much alcohol

During this know your numbers week, the aim is to raise awareness of the importance of having regular blood pressure checks, detect high blood pressure and help people at risk to take the first steps to a healthy blood pressure.

To learn about your blood pressure, visit your pharmacy or book in for your free NHS Health Check today.