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World Hypertension Day 2022

World Hypertension Day 2022

May 17th 2022 is a day to spotlight hypertension, or high blood pressure as it’s commonly known. It’s also more worryingly known as ‘the silent killer’. This is often because people don’t find out that they have high blood pressure until after they suffer the consequence of it, such as having a heart attack or stroke.


‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’

This year the theme of the day is ‘Measure Your Blood Pressure Accurately, Control It, Live Longer’. The aim is to encourage as many people as possible to be aware of what their blood pressure is, take action if it is raised and reduce the long term risks in order to live a healthy long life. Around 50% of heart attacks and strokes are associated with high blood pressure. Knowing your blood pressure could save your life.

World Hypertension League have set two critical components of how they aim to increase awareness of high blood pressure:

 ‘’establish high‐capacity community screening programs for recognition of high BP in those at risk’’ and

 ‘’promote routine measurement of BP by health‐care professionals at all clinical encounters’’.

These will be essential to achieve the United Nations 2025 goal for a 25% reduction in uncontrolled hypertension.


What is hypertension?

Blood pressure is the pressure of blood against the walls of arteries, the vessels that carry blood all around your body. Some pressure is needed in order to push the blood around. It naturally increases and decreases depending on the time of day and your activity levels.

When blood pressure is measured, you will notice two numbers.

The ‘top number’ or higher number is the systolic pressure:

  • A measurement of the force or pressure in your vessels when the heart contracts, squeezing blood out of the heart

The ‘bottom number’ or lower number is the diastolic pressure:

  • A measurement of the pressure in the blood vessels when the heart relaxes and in between heart beats

Normal blood pressure is usually between 90/60 mmHg and 120/80 mmHg but lower than 140/90. 

Hypertension is a blood pressure of 140/90 mmHg to 180/110 mmHg.

Severe Hypertension is a blood pressure over 180/110 mmHg.

Hypertension is the medical term for the condition where blood pressure is consistently high. This means your heart has to work even harder to push blood around your body. The vessels can become narrower or stiffer and can then clog up causing a blockage. This reduces circulating blood to that area of the body. There is a risk of a heart attack if there is a blockage in the heart or stroke if there is a blockage in the brain.  

Globally hypertension is predicted to affect more than 1.5 billion people worldwide by 2025.


How do I know if I have got hypertension?

As many as 5 million adults in the UK do not know they have hypertension according to the British Heart Foundation. All these people won’t know they are at risk of serious health consequences. The only way of knowing if you have high blood pressure is to have it measured as rarely does it give symptoms.

Unfortunately, many people seek help once they develop other complications such as circulation problems, kidney disease, heart failure, visual problems, vascular dementia or sexual dysfunction.

Adults over 40 years old are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years if they have normal blood pressure. You need an annual check if you have controlled hypertension and more frequent checks if the blood pressure is uncontrolled which will be guided by your healthcare professional.


Where can I have my blood pressure measured?

Pharmacies

GP surgeries

Healthcare appointments

WISE coaching sessions


What increases the risk of high blood pressure?

  • Being overweight or having obesity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Less fruit and vegetables
  • Not enough physical exercise
  • Too much caffeine
  • Too much alcohol
  • Smoking
  • Poor sleep
  • Being over 65 years old
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Black African or Black Caribbean descent
  • Living in an area of deprivation

Other causes include kidney disease, adrenal gland problems and some medications such as hormonal contraceptives and certain herbal remedies.


WISE is here to help

The Wellness Improvement Service (WISE) is now open for patients in the Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board area who are concerned about their blood pressure and want help to address some of the lifestyle factors listed above and reduce the risks they can control.

Our Wellness Coaches can coach you to improve your own health including your blood pressure by following our programme designed by Momenta, the Cardiovascular Disease Prevention Programme;

“Our CVD Prevention programme supports people with high blood pressure or early stage coronary artery disease to slow or reduce their risk of progression to more serious conditions by making sustainable improvements to their diet, activity, weight and medication adherence."

"The CVD Prevention programme complies with relevant NICE and SIGN Guidance, including relating to behaviour change (NICE PH6, PH49), cardiovascular disease (NICE CG181), physical activity and obesity (NICE PH53, PH42, CG43), as well as other pertinent research (e.g. SCOT-HEART, INTERHEART). Sustained lifestyle changes can both lower blood pressure and slow (and potentially even reverse) the progression of early-stage coronary heart disease to a serious cardiac event, such as a heart attack.

The Wellness Coaches will educate you on how to take your own blood pressure in the sessions and help you monitor it and aim to see an improvement with you over a 9 month period. They will help you clarify all the factors affecting your blood pressure and give you the tools to take action so you feel a sense of control over your health.

Blood pressure medications are not prescribed in this service but these can be prescribed from your GP or specialist if needed. The WISE service is about taking a holistic approach to blood pressure management and reducing your long term risks of developing heart disease. The service works alongside any medicines you have been advised to take. You may find by addressing the factors that caused your high blood pressure and changing the way you live each day that medicine dosages can be reduced or some stopped (only change medications with the advice of your doctor).

If you have just been diagnosed with high blood pressure and want the support of a Wellness Coach you can self-refer here using the form here: WISE Registration Form or email: CTM.WISE@wales.nhs.uk or call us on 01685 351 451/01685 351 444. 

Your doctor, nurse, health care assistant, pharmacist, physiotherapist, dietician or any allied health professional can also refer you.

Be WISE, check your blood pressure this World Hypertension Day!

Author: Dr Liza Thomas-Emrus


For further information please email: CTM.WISE@wales.nhs.uk or call us on 01685 351 451.Visit our website at: https://ctmuhb.nhs.wales/wise-ctm

Register for the WISE Service

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