Blood pressure: know your numbers

Lesley Dobson / 19 September 2017

Do you know what your blood pressure is? If not, you’re not alone but you do need to take action.

What’s your blood pressure? If you don’t know, you’re not alone. It’s thought that around one in three adults (that’s about 16 million people) are living with high blood pressure. Another five million people have high blood pressure but haven’t had it diagnosed.

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Just in case you think high blood pressure doesn’t matter too much, here’s a sobering fact – it’s the single biggest cause of death in the UK. Professor Graham MacGregor, Chairman of Blood Pressure UK says: “Blood Pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions and yet it is still one of the leading causes of death in the UK. Those from poorer backgrounds are worse off.

“Having your blood pressure checked is one of the biggest steps that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure and yet so many millions are taking unnecessary risks with their health.”

Find out more about Know Your Numbers! Week, and where you can get your blood pressure tested, at

Tips for healthy blood pressure

To help you get started, here are some of Blood Pressure UK’s Top tips for healthy blood pressure:

1. Cut down on salt – this is the quickest way to lower blood pressure. Don’t add it to your food, check food labels, and aim to eat less than 6g of salt a day.

2. Eat at least five portions of fruit and vegetables a day.

3. Watch your weight – try to reach and keep at the right weight for your height.

4. Exercise regularly – 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week is ideal. If you are unsure about taking up exercise, ask your GP.

5. Drink alcohol in moderation – Men and women should stick to a maximum of 14 units a week (a pint of normal strength beer = 2.3 units, a medium glass of wine = 2.3 units).

6. Consider downloading the free smartphone FoodSwitch App. By scanning the barcode on foods and drinks you can find out whether they are high, medium or low in fat, saturates, sugars and salt.

The opinions expressed are those of the author and are not held by Saga unless specifically stated.

The material is for general information only and does not constitute investment, tax, legal, medical or other form of advice. You should not rely on this information to make (or refrain from making) any decisions. Always obtain independent, professional advice for your own particular situation.