This site is intended for healthcare professionals only

Let's make some noise about blood pressure

Written by: | Published:

Blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes Blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes, heart attacks and heart failure

High blood pressure is a major risk factor for strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, chronic kidney disease and dementia. It is also the second biggest risk factor for early death and disability in this country after tobacco.Yet most people are unaware of not only the risks of high blood pressure, but also their own blood pressure levels.

The good news is that high blood pressure is often preventable through lifestyle change. Indeed, the majority of adults could reduce their risk of cardiovascular disease by lowering their blood pressure, not just the almost 30% who have hypertension (140/90mmHg or higher).

Improvements in tackling blood pressure in the last decade have prevented or postponed many thousands of deaths, but at present only four in 10 adults with high blood pressure are both aware of their condition and managing it to the levels recommended. In Canada, that figure is seven out of 10, so we know better is possible.

The need for action is not going unrecognised and a group of organisations was brought together by Public Health England in 2014 – with partners from across the NHS, local and national government, the third sector and academia. Their published plan, Tackling high blood pressure: from evidence into action, sets out national commitments but also represents a major call to action for all of us – not only health professionals, but employers, the voluntary sector, commissioners and others – to play our part.

Nurses working in all settings – public health, primary care and beyond – have a vital role in this agenda. Here are three ideas of great steps nurses could take at any time.

First, 'make every contact count' when dealing with patients, by proactively offering lifestyle advice on diet (including salt reduction), exercise and alcohol – improvements in these have many wider benefits for individuals, including lowering blood pressure.

Secondly, use appropriate opportunities to check blood pressure, including when patients attend an appointment about another matter.

Thirdly, refresh your knowledge of latest hypertension guidelines – a lot has evolved in terms of detection and management in the last few years. NICE Clinical Guideline 127 or the British Heart Foundation's (BHF's) overview will help.

If you have further interest or energy, take a leadership role in your area, and make links with other healthcare professionals who can support you – through the BHF Alliance, for example.

It is time for us all to play our part in tackling high blood pressure to protect the health of the nation.

Viv Bennett, director of nursing, Public Health England

What do you think? Leave a comment below or tweet your views to @IndyNurseMag

This material is protected by MA Healthcare Ltd copyright.
See Terms and Conditions.

Comments

wonderful article at the right time. It seems simple but glad someone of your calibre is adressing. I am about to train some volunteers and health trainers who carry out the DH health check programme and you have signposted me well to the latest guidance.
thanks again
Posted by: ,
Name
 
Email
 
Comments
 

Please view our Terms and Conditions before leaving a comment.

Change the CAPTCHA codeSpeak the CAPTCHA code
 

Newsletter

Sign up to the newsletter

About

Independent Nurse is the professional resource for primary care and community nurses, providing clinical articles for practice nurses and prescribers.

Newsletter

Subscribe to our newsletter and stay up to date with the latest nursing news.

Stay Connected

Stay social with Independent Nurse by following us on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or connecting on LinkedIn.

Archive

Need access to some of our older articles? You can view our archive, or alternatively contact us.

Contact Us

MA Healthcare Ltd.
St Jude's Church, Dulwich Road
London, SE24 0PB

Tel: +44 (0)20 7738 5454
Registered in England and Wales No. 01878373

Meet the team

Authors

Find out how to contribute to Independent Nurse here.