More than two hundred blood pressure monitor kits are available for loan from libraries in the county to raise awareness of high blood pressure and to coincide with World Hypertension Day on 17 May.
About 3 in 10 adults in Somerset have high blood pressure but 1 in 10 don’t know it. It is a major risk factor for Cardiovascular Disease (CVD) and significantly increases the risk of having a heart attack or stroke, but early detection and treatment can help people live longer, healthier lives.
The two hundred blood pressure monitor kits are being provided by Somerset County Council who is encouraging everyone to check their blood pressure.
Professor Trudi Grant, Somerset County Council’s Director of Public Health, said: “High blood pressure usually has no symptoms which is why many people don’t know they have it. The only way to find out is to have regular blood pressure checks and that is why we are making them as widely accessible as possible. The good news is if you know you have high blood pressure, some small lifestyle changes combined with medication where necessary can help lower high blood pressure and in turn lower the risk of stroke and heart attack.”
The blood pressure monitor kits include an information leaflet that explains how to check your blood pressure at home and what to do with the results – measuring blood pressure at home can be very useful to give a more accurate picture of what a person’s blood pressure is like. The monitors can also detect an irregular heart beat which is another risk for CVD.
For anyone who is not a library member it is really easy to join, either call into your local branch or go online via the opens in a new windowLibraries West website.
Sue Crowley, Somerset County Council Strategic Manager for Libraries, said: “We are delighted to be able to offer this new service through the libraries network. Libraries are an important thread to a community’s wellbeing and health. As safe, trusted spaces we hope people will be encouraged to take advantage of the opportunity to do something positive for themselves.”
Alternatively, some community pharmacies across Somerset are able to offer a blood pressure check service to people over the age of forty, as an easy and convenient way for people to get their blood pressure checked.
Anyone taking a pharmacy test who is found to have a high blood pressure reading, will be followed up with continuous monitoring over a 24-hour period. The pharmacist will forward the readings to the patients GP and can refer for further treatment.
A more extensive and free cardiovascular health check is via the NHS Health Checks programme. Visit the opens in a new windowNHS website to check eligibility.