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Get to know your blood pressure now

Published Tuesday, 16 September 2014

‘Know your blood pressure’ is the latest health campaign just launched by Enfield Council’s public health team. It is designed to raise awareness of high blood pressure.

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And to support the campaign the council is planning an ongoing programme of blood pressure health checks at: local pharmacies, community centres and public buildings around the borough.

Cllr Rohini Simbodyal, Enfield Council's Cabinet Member for Youth, Leisure and Public Health, had her blood pressure checked at the Civic Centre on Friday 12 September.

She said, "The stark facts about high blood pressure cases in Enfield are astonishing. Over 40,000 people have been diagnosed with it and of these 9,500 are not controlled or monitored.

"It is estimated that a further 23,000 people are living with the condition, but not aware of it – so it goes undiagnosed and therefore untreated.

"High blood pressure has no symptoms. It can cause sudden death or leave people seriously ill with heart disease or the effects of a stroke. I urge everyone to get their blood pressure checked regularly and to keep it under control by taking their medication. We can all do something about this."

General precautions to control blood pressure levels are to cut down on salt in food, avoid foods with added salt in ready- made and take away meals. Above all, once diagnosed with high blood pressure, take the medicine that can control it, get regular checks and take gentle exercise.

Who is most at risk?

Your chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure but you are at increased risk if you:

  • Are overweight
  • Have a relative with high blood pressure
  • Smoke
  • Are of African or Caribbean descent
  • Eat too much salt
  • Don't eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • Don't do enough exercise
  • Drink too much coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • Drink too much alcohol
  • Are aged over 65

If you fall into any of the groups listed above, consider making changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of high blood pressure. Also consider having your blood pressure checked more often, ideally about once a year.>

Prevention and treatment

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by:

  • Losing weight if you need to
  • Reducing the amount of salt you eat
  • Exercising regularly
  • Eating a healthy diet
  • Cutting back if you drink too much alcohol
  • Stopping smoking
  • Cutting down on caffeine

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