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Don't take risks with your health. Know Your Numbers!

Merton residents are encouraged to take advantage of free blood pressure checks during the awareness week called Know Your Numbers! which run between 12-18 September 2016.

High blood pressure puts people in Merton at risk of a stroke or heart attack. But, during the Know your Numbers! week, free blood pressure tests are on offer to help you to reduce the risks to your health.

Each year over 1,000 "pressure stations" located in GPs and pharmacies offer free blood pressure checks across the UK, enabling over 100,000 people to take that all-important first step towards better heart and vascular health.  Visit Blood Pressure UK's website to find your nearest pressure station or speak to a local GP or pharmacist.

Ideally, a healthy adult's blood pressure will measure below 120/80mmHg. At this level, adults have a much lower risk of heart disease or stroke. But, according to Blood Pressure UK, more than three in four men and seven in ten women have high blood pressure, which is either not being treated, or properly controlled.

High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms, the only way for people to know if they have the condition is to have their blood pressure professionally measured.

If your blood pressure is optimal, this is great news. By following some healthy living advice, you will be able to keep it this way. But, if your blood pressure is high, you will need to lower it.

Adopting a healthy lifestyle can also help reduce blood pressure, and may avoid the need for long-term medication from your GP. The five top tips for achieving a healthy blood pressure are as follows:

  • Eat less salt: Don't add salt to food when cooking or at the table. When shopping for food, check the labels and choose low-salt options when possible.
  • Eat more fruit and vegetables: Adults should eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables every day. A portion is 80 grams, or roughly the size of your fist.
  • Keep to a healthy weight: The best way to lose weight is to choose more low-fat and low-calorie foods, and increase your physical activity.
  • Drink less alcohol: The current recommended limits are 21 units of alcohol a week for men, and 14 units a week for women. A unit is roughly half a pint of beer or cider, a small glass of wine, or a single pub measure of spirits.
  • Get more active: Being moderately active for 30 minutes five times a week can keep your heart healthy, and can lower your blood pressure. If you can't find 30 minutes in your day, increasing your activity by even a small amount can help.

Visit Blood Pressure UK to find out more about the 2016 Know Your Numbers! campaign.  ​