This year’s event, which takes place from 6–12 September, aims to promote home blood pressure monitoring to identify undiagnosed hypertension

Older man home blood pressure monitoring HBPM

Coordinated by Blood Pressure UK, Know Your Numbers! Week is the UK’s biggest blood pressure testing and awareness event. Each September, hundreds of organisations—including GP surgeries, pharmacies, gyms, libraries, and supermarkets—sign up to provide free blood pressure checks to thousands of members of the public. The event, which is in now its 21st year, aims to raise awareness of the ‘forgotten pandemic of high blood pressure’, and encourage individuals with undiagnosed or uncontrolled high blood pressure to seek advice about their condition.

Blood Pressure UK states that around a third of people in the UK have high blood pressure, but most do not know it because of its lack of symptoms. Left uncontrolled, high blood pressure can lead to heart attacks, strokes, and other illnesses; a simple blood pressure check can identify individuals with undiagnosed high blood pressure, and help them to get the support and treatment they need.

Know Your Numbers! Week 2021

Owing to infection control meaures necessitated by the pandemic, free blood pressure checks at community Pressure Stations will be unavailable this year. Instead, the 2021 campaign will focus on self-monitoring of blood pressure. 

Home blood pressure monitoring, using a simple and reliable device, is an effective and inexpensive way of identifying high blood pressure. It empowers patients to take control of their health, and also provides a practical way for patients to monitor their blood pressure without visiting a GP or pharmacist, thereby relieving pressure on the NHS.

To support patients to undertake home blood pressure monitoring, Blood Pressure UK has created an online resource hub with a range of home blood pressure monitoring resources. Although registration is now closed to become a Pressure Partner in this year’s event, the charity provides the following tips to help healthcare professionals support their patients to practice home blood pressure monitoring:

  • promote home blood pressure monitoring by encouraging use of blood pressure monitors—for example, online via websites, newsletters, and social media

  • offer guidance on how to use a home blood pressure monitor properly and what to do if the reading is high

  • direct people to the Blood Pressure UK website and helpline, where they can find information about choosing a home monitor, how to use it, and how to look after their blood pressure

  • offer support to patients with high blood pressure—patients may not able to get a blood pressure check in pharmacies or GP surgeries at the moment, but they still need help and guidance from their healthcare professional, and shared decision making on their treatment and medicine adherence

  • talk about the risks of high blood pressure—such as heart disease, stroke, and dementia—and reinforce the benefits of healthy eating and physical activity.