Lessons to be learnt from UK’s nationwide hypertension awareness campaign.
In 2001, leading charity Blood Pressure UK launched “Know your Numbers! Week,” an annual, nationwide event aimed at increasing awareness and improving access to free blood pressure checks. The first event provided free blood pressure checks to 10,340 people. Today, around 250,000 people get checked each campaign and around 1.5 million people have been checked to-date.
According to the charity, “125,000 adults in the UK have a heart attack or stroke in which high blood pressure is a key factor ― that’s a preventable stroke or heart attack every 4 minutes.”
The campaign, to be held September 16-22, 2013 encourages all UK adults to know their blood pressure numbers and to take the necessary action to reach and maintain a healthy blood pressure. The ultimate goal is to lower hypertension to prevent stroke and heart attack.
During the second week of September, hundreds of nationwide organizations that have joined the campaign, provide free blood pressure tests and information at venues known as Pressure Stations. Every year there are over 1,500 stations located at pharmacies, places of work, practitioner’s surgeries, hospitals, health clubs, leisure centers, shopping centers, even supermarkets.
Statistics published by Blood Pressure UK show that 1 in 3 UK adults (16 million people) has high blood pressure. It is the biggest known cause of premature death and disability in the UK due to the strokes, heart attacks and heart disease it causes. It is also a risk factor for kidney disease and dementia. The charity says that over 5 million people are not even aware that they have high blood pressure. Those that have the condition are 3 times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke and twice as likely to die from these as people with a normal blood pressure. Groups considered at high risk include people over 55 years of age, people of African Caribbean descent, and people of South Asian origin who are more prone to other vascular conditions.
The event won the healthcare category of The Charity Awards 2008.