Know Your Numbers! Week 2021:

The forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure


High blood pressure is one of the biggest single and preventable causes of death in the UK, as it has no obvious symptoms. Therefore, keeping your blood pressure under control is the most important step you can take to cut your risk of stroke, heart attack and heart failure.


Around one in three adults in the UK has high blood pressure, however, nearly 6 million people don’t know they have it and are living daily with undiagnosed high blood pressure. This is because there are rarely any signs or symptoms; the only way to know is to have it measured.


When your blood pressure is measured it will be written as two numbers:

1. the pressure when your heart beats and pushes blood around your body (systolic) and

2. the pressure in between beats when your heart relaxes (diastolic).

For example, if your reading is 120/80mmHg, your blood pressure is ‘120 over 80’.


Blood pressure is not usually something that you feel or notice. The table below shows

what different readings can mean:

If it’s high, making a few simple changes to your diet and lifestyle can have a significant effect on lowering it and in turn reducing your risk of stroke and heart disease.


1. Eat less salt – The biggest cause of high blood pressure is having too much salt in your diet, so reducing your salt intake is the quickest way to lower your blood pressure. Avoid adding it when cooking or at the table, or using stock cubes, gravy and soy sauce, check food labels and avoid processed foods high in salt – aim to eat less than 6g a day. If removing salt from your diet is proving difficult then LoSalt is reduced in sodium, the part of salt that raises your blood pressure, so you can use it to help lower your daily sodium intake.

2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – aim for at least five different portions every day. They’re a great source of potassium, which lowers blood pressure, and a great source of fibre and other nutrients too.

3. Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.

4. Exercise regularly –. the government advises us to do 150 minutes of moderate activity a week. 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.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation – up to 14 units a week for both men and women – a glass of wine or a pint of beer is 2-3 units.

Blood Pressure UK is urging all adults across the country – especially those aged 40 and above – to Know their Numbers! by measuring their blood pressure either at home (using a home monitor) or at their GP’s surgery. This simple and quick test could save a life.


Know Your Numbers! Week is the nation’s largest annual blood pressure testing and awareness event and this year will run from 6th-12th September 2021.


Visit their online measuring your blood at home resources hub to download their range of home blood pressure monitoring resources for this Know Your Numbers! Week and beyond.


For more information on Blood Pressure UK visit