QMU to offer FREE blood pressure testing for local residents

By Press Office

Queen Margaret University is urging its local residents in Musselburgh to get their blood pressure checked for FREE as part of ‘Know Your Numbers!’ Week – the UK’s biggest free blood pressure testing event held at ‘Pressure Stations’ around the country from 18-24 September 2017.

Volunteers hosting the Pressure Station at Queen Margaret University Sports Centre will provide information and advice on simple steps to keep blood pressure under control and will measure your blood pressure accurately.

This comes as charity, Blood Pressure UK cautions that ignoring health warnings, particularly about poor diet and excess salt intake, is leading more young people to develop hypertension (also known as high blood pressure) – putting them at risk of having an early stroke.

Figures show the proportion of strokes in working age people (those aged 25 to 64) has increased, despite an overall drop in the number of strokes. Blood Pressure UK is urging the local public, regardless of age, to check their blood pressure as part of ‘Know Your Numbers!’ Week.

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 (the single biggest cause of death) – with 6.5 million people still remaining undiagnosed.

What’s more, between 2008-2016, around 5% of all deaths in working age men were due to stroke whilst for women the figure was 2%. 

In September alone, around 15,000 people in the UK will die from a heart attack or stroke. A quarter of these will be people under 75, that’s 125 people every day and most of these could have been prevented. A further 125 people a day will have a heart attack or stroke and survive, half of whom will have life changing disabilities. 

Key risk factors for developing high blood pressure are eating too much salt, not enough fruit and vegetables, being overweight and not enough exercise.

High blood pressure, which is almost entirely preventable, was responsible for approximately 75,000 deaths in the UK in 2015, and costs the NHS billions every year.

This comes as new analysis from Public Health England’s Heart Age Test (ref) shows that one in every ten men aged 50 (11%) has a heart age at least ten years older than they are and has a heightened risk of a potentially fatal heart attack or stroke at a younger age.

Stuart Burnside, Deputy Leisure Services Manager, said: “The message to people is to take charge of their health and get their blood pressure checked free of charge at Queen Margaret University Sports Centre. Blood pressure is one of the most preventable and treatable conditions but remains one of the leading causes of death. As an individual having your blood pressure checked is the most important step that you can take to reduce your risk of stroke, heart attack or heart failure.”

Shefalee Loth, Nutritionist at Blood Pressure UK said: “Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in younger patients with high blood pressure, often as a result of too much salt and poor diet. If you start making small changes to your lifestyle when you are young, such as eating less salt, more fruit and vegetable, taking more exercise and keeping to a healthy weight, you will stay healthier and prevent strokes and heart disease.”

Queen Margaret University Sports Centre is offering free blood pressure checks at: The Sports Centre Reception at the following dates and times:

• Monday 18th September between 8am-12pm & 2pm-8pm
• Tuesday 19th September between 8am-12pm & 2pm-5.30pm
• Wednesday 20th September between 8am-12pm & 2pm-8pm
• Thursday 21st September between 8am-12pm & 2pm-5.30pm
• Friday 22nd September between 8am-12pm & 2pm-6pm
• Saturday 23rd September between 9am-10.30am & 12pm-3pm
• Sunday 24th September between 9am-10.30am & 12pm-3pm

More information on Know Your Numbers! Week and your nearest blood pressure check: is available on the Blood Pressure UK website.

About Blood Pressure UK
Blood Pressure UK is the UK’s leading blood pressure charity working to lower the nation’s blood pressure to prevent disability and death from stroke and heart disease. The charity provides information and support for people with high blood pressure and raises awareness to prevent the condition. Blood Pressure UK is the operating name of the Blood Pressure Association, charity reg. 1058944.

Facts about blood pressure from Blood Pressure UK:
• High blood pressure has no obvious signs or symptoms. The only way to find out if you have the condition is to have a blood pressure check.
• Untreated high blood pressure is the major risk factor for strokes, heart attacks and heart failure. It is also a major risk factor for kidney disease and dementia.
• A healthy blood pressure is a level of 120/80mmHg or less.
• A blood pressure of 121/81mmHg to 139/89mmHg is on the high side and lifestyle changes such as eating less salt, more fruit and veg and losing weight if necessary should be advised.
• If readings are consistently at or above 140/90mmHg, high blood pressure is diagnosed, and action should be taken to lower it by leading a healthier lifestyle, and, if necessary, by taking medication as directed by your doctor.

Blood Pressure UK’s ‘Top five tips for a healthy blood pressure’:

1. Cut down on salt – Reducing your salt intake it the quickest way to lower your blood pressure.  Don’t add it when cooking or at the table, avoid using stock cubes, gravy and soy sauce, check food labels and avoid processed foods high in salt – aim to eat less than 6g a day.
2. Eat plenty of fruit and vegetables – at least five different portions every day.
3. Watch your weight – try to reach the right weight for your height.
4. Exercise regularly – that doesn’t have to mean the gym, how about a regular lunchtime walk? 30 minutes five times a week is ideal. If you are unsure about taking up exercise, ask your GP.
5. Drink alcohol in moderation – up to 14 units a week for both men and women – a glass of wine or a pint of beer is 2-3 units.

QMU Sports Centre
Queen Margaret University Sports Centre offers a range of facilities to staff, students and the general public. We provide a safe, friendly and informative environment so you can enjoy your chosen sport to the full. Our staff, who are trained to a high standard, endeavour to provide you with a high quality service and are happy to assist with any questions you may have.

Media information
For further media information contact Lynne Russell, Communications Manager, Queen Margaret University, E: lrussell@qmu.ac.uk , T: 0131 474 0000, M: 07711 011239, or Jonathan Perkins, Press and PR Officer, E: jperkins@qmu.ac.uk T: 0131 474 0000.

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