An independent sector healthcare provider is urging adults across the country to check their blood pressure as huge numbers of people are living with serious health issues without realising it.
A poll carried out by Benenden Health suggests that a quarter of UK adults do not know what blood pressure is.
Two thirds (66%) do not know what to do to lower their blood pressure and three quarters (77%) feel there should be more information available on how to manage blood pressure, the poll shows.
Even if they showed symptoms of high or low blood pressure, such as headaches, black-outs and dizziness, a quarter of respondents to the poll (26%) said they would not visit a GP, with a fifth (20%) of these saying they would be put off by lengthy waiting times.
A further 20% said they felt it wouldn’t be important enough to seek medical support about.
The research also shows that 5% of UK adults have never had their blood pressure checked and as many as one in five (18%) can not remember when it was last taken. One in ten (11%) said they were unsure where their blood pressure could be checked, with an additional 10% saying they wouldn’t have it taken due to fear of the results.
A Benenden spokesman said that the organisation has produced a new online tool to help people understand what blood pressure is and offer tailored advice to users in order to achieve and maintain a healthy reading.
Despite resisting checks and medical advice, only half of all respondents could correctly identify a healthy blood pressure and nearly two thirds (60%) did not know what they can do to raise or lower their blood pressure, with three quarters (77%) of respondents thinking there should be more information available on how to manage a healthy blood pressure.
Cheryl Lythgoe, Matron at Benenden Health, said: “As a result of our findings, we’ve developed an online tool to help people understand what blood pressure is, what the risk factors are and what they can do to raise or lower their reading. Checking – and understanding – your blood pressure can be a really simple, yet hugely important activity in monitoring and maintaining a healthy lifestyle.
“People shouldn’t be afraid to get checked out as it is simple to do and even if your reading is outside of the normal threshold, blood pressure can be managed to minimise the threat of associated health risks. Despite the current climate, we shouldn’t ignore our wider health and would encourage people to find out their reading either by visiting their GP or pharmacy or by purchasing a machine themselves at a very reasonable price.
“The real danger with blood pressure comes when we ignore it or don’t see it as important. As symptoms aren’t always easy to spot, without an accurate reading you could be in danger of missing out on a vital indication that you are at risk of a serious medical condition. We therefore highly recommend regular monitoring and if you do have any concerns, that you visit your GP and are not put off by the current climate in doing so.”