Know Your Numbers!
As part of Blood Pressure Awareness Week
‘Know your numbers!’ is the message being communicated by Blood Pressure UK as part of their awareness week highlighting the health risks associated with high blood pressure and the need for regular monitoring.
Guy Coddington, aged 59 and from Grimsby, registered an extremely high reading of 240/140mmHG when having his blood pressure taken as part of last year’s national awareness week. He was described by a medical professional as a ‘ticking time bomb’.
Guy, Operations Officer at Grimsby Leisure Centre, happened to have his reading taken by chance when asked by Lincs Inspire colleague Lucy Guilliatt, performing routine checks as part of the awareness week. The reading was to shock both Guy and Lucy, who advised he should go to see his GP.
Without having any health problems that he was aware of, it was only when Guy was encouraged at his Pharmacy a month later to have another reading taken that he was then told ‘You must see a Doctor immediately!’.
Following the advice of his Pharmacist, Guy went straight to his GP, who after confirming his extremely high blood pressure reading, prescribed him medication and advised some lifestyle changes. These included eating less salt and more fruit and vegetables, as well as more regular exercise. His readings were to be taken weekly to monitor his progress.
The changes had immediate effect. After just one week Guy’s reading had lowered from 240/140mmHG to 181/105mmHG and continued to improve, registering 163/97mmHG the following week. By March, Guy’s reading was down to 151/91mmHG. An ideal reading according to Blood Pressure UK is 120/80mmHG.
Guy said: “I work in the fitness industry, so I know the importance of a healthy lifestyle. But high blood pressure can easily go unnoticed and bad habits can soon creep into your routine. Last year’s blood pressure test, which was taken at Bradley Football Development Centre was the wake-up call I needed. I have been able to make small changes to my diet and lifestyle and as such I’ve seen a dramatic change in my overall health and wellbeing. It doesn’t take long to get tested but I urge people to do so.”
High blood pressure has no symptoms and remains the biggest single cause of death in the UK. Untreated it can lead to heart disease and stroke. With unhealthy lifestyles and poor diet contributing to more young people in their 30s, 40s and 50s being diagnosed with hypertension, around 1 in 3 people in the UK are now living with high blood pressure, with 6.5 million people still remaining undiagnosed.
Guy’s story is a perfect example of how awareness, regular testing and small changes to lifestyle can help prevent serious health complications. When having his reading taken this week, a year on from his initial high reading, he recorded a dramatic improvement of 138/84mmHg.
Due to COVID-19, we are not running our test stations for the public to get their readings taken this year, but are instead supporting Blood Pressure UK’s message of ‘Know Your Numbers!’ by encouraging the public to test their blood pressure, where possible, from home. For more information visit bloodpressureuk.org.