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Know your numbers

4th-10th September is ‘know your numbers’ week, which is the UK’s biggest and most recognised blood pressure testing event of the year. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, which is why it is often referred to as the silent killer. The only way to know you have it is to check. If detected early, it can be easily treated thereby reducing your risk of a stroke or heart disease. It’s vital we stay one step ahead of our bodies and proactively monitor our health and wellbeing for signs of anything that we may be unaware of.  

Preventive care is essential in identifying underlying health conditions such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol or diabetes. A trained healthcare professional can provide personalised advice and recommendations based on your health check results, be it diet, exercise or any other lifestyle guidance to improve your health.

For individuals with chronic conditions like diabetes, hypertension, or heart disease, regular health checks are crucial for monitoring the condition and adjusting treatment plans as needed. Here’s what you can expect from a vital health check.

Blood pressure

Having high blood pressure (hypertension) is not something that you will feel or be aware of; hence why it is important to have your blood pressure checked periodically. In some rare cases, high blood pressure can result in blurred or double vision, nose bleeds, shortness of breath, or a persistent headache. If you experience any of these symptoms, you should see your GP as soon as possible.

You can reduce your blood pressure by:

  • Eating plenty of fruit, vegetables, and salad (aim for between 5–8 portions per day)
  • Reducing your saturated fat intake
  • Reducing your alcohol intake
  • Reducing your salt intake
  • Losing excess weight
  • Taking regular exercise
  • Stopping smoking

If your blood pressure is very high or making changes to your lifestyle does not lower it enough, you might need to consider taking medication to control it. If you are prescribed medication, it is very important that you take your medication daily, and that you attend your GP surgery for regular reviews.

Cholesterol readings

Cholesterol is a waxy, fat-like substance that is found in your blood. High levels of cholesterol, particularly low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol (often referred to as “bad” cholesterol), can lead to the buildup of plaque in your arteries. This can narrow and block your arteries, increasing the risk of heart disease, heart attacks, and strokes.

High cholesterol levels often have no noticeable symptoms, which is why it’s often referred to as a “silent” condition. Regular cholesterol checks can help detect any abnormalities in your cholesterol levels early on, allowing you to take action to manage your levels before they lead to serious health issues.

Cholesterol management isn’t one-size-fits-all. Depending on your individual health profile and risk factors, your doctor can provide personalised recommendations to help you achieve and maintain healthy cholesterol levels. If you’ve been diagnosed with high cholesterol and are taking steps to lower it, regular cholesterol checks can help you monitor your progress. This can be motivating and provide insight into whether your efforts are effective.

Diabetes risk

It is important to maintain a normal blood glucose level to reduce the risk of developing diabetes. Diabetes can be characterised by the body being unable to metabolise glucose. This leads to high levels of blood glucose which over time can cause irreversible damage to eyesight and various organs of the body.

What can you do to influence this?

  • Reducing sugar and carbohydrate intake
  • Taking part in regular exercise
  • Increasing your fruit and vegetable intake
  • Reducing alcohol intake

To promote better health adopt a balanced and nutritious diet, engage in regular physical activity, avoid smoking and excessive alcohol intake and manage stress effectively. Identifying underlying health conditions is crucial for maintaining overall well-being and preventing serious complications. Regular health checks can offer peace of mind, knowing that you are taking proactive steps to monitor your health. This can reduce anxiety about potential health issues.

By staying informed, listening to your body, scheduling regular health check-ups, and making positive lifestyle choices, you can proactively take charge of your health. Remember, early detection and timely intervention can make a significant difference in managing underlying health conditions and enjoying a healthier and happier life. If you have any concerns about your health, don’t hesitate to reach out to a healthcare provider for professional guidance.

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