National charity calls on nurses to help identify the five million adults "at risk" from high blood pressure
The Blood Pressure Association (BPA), is calling on all nurses to help identify the estimated 5.3 million adults in the UK who don't realise they have high blood pressure, the major cause of strokes, heart attacks and heart disease.
Nurses are being urged to volunteer to carry out free blood pressure checks during the nation's biggest blood pressure testing event, the BPA's Know Your Numbers! (KYN!) Week, from 10 to 16 September.
The aim of KYN! Week is to encourage people to take control of their health and know their blood pressure numbers in the same way they know their height and weight.
It's thought of the 16 million who have high blood pressure, a third do not know they have it because the condition has no symptoms.
Liz Wakefield, outpatient nurse for Worthing Hospital, who took part in last year's event, said: "During last year's KYN! Week I made a life-sized blood pressure monitor costume to encourage people to come and get their blood pressure checked. It was great to reach out to the wider public and raise awareness of the dangers of high blood pressure.
"Overall, it was a successful day and we gained professional recognition within the trust. I would urge nurses across the UK to participate in this worthy event. It's a great opportunity to share knowledge, skills and expert BPA information with the general public and it definitely makes a nice change to a typical clinical day."
The BPA is encouraging nurses and other health professionals, who are trained to measure blood pressure as part of their role, to get involved in KYN! Week by setting up their own BPA Pressure Station - a blood pressure testing site where free checks are offered to the public.
All health professionals who sign up and register a Pressure Station will receive a BPA resource pack containing a variety of materials that will support their event.
"By volunteering during KYN! Week, you will be actively helping to track down the 'missing millions' of adults in the UK who are unaware they have high blood pressure, and could potentially save lives," said Mark Hooley, BPA project and marketing officer.
"We especially encourage health professionals to set up their Pressure Station in a busy location, such as a hospital foyer or shopping complex, as we know this attracts people who may not otherwise have a blood pressure check at their GP surgery."
If you are interested in setting up a Pressure Staion, visit www.bpassoc.org.uk to find out more and register.