17th May is World Hypertension Day and local people are being encouraged to get their blood pressure checked so they know their numbers and are able to seek help if they need it.

To mark the day, the Atrium Medical Centre and Tout’s Pharmacy, both on Weymouth Avenue in Dorchester, are inviting people to drop in and get themselves checked, offering advice, signposting and support to anyone who may be suffering from Hypertension or have concerns about their results.

Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers.

The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.

Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different. What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else, however Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90 (systolic) / 60 (diastolic) 120/80, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90.

If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes.

Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of a number of serious and potentially life-threatening health conditions.

Jane Horne, Consultant from Public Health Dorset said: “World Hypertension Day is a great reminder to us all to look after our health, and make sure we get those vital checks we all need to prevent serious illnesses. There are lots of places you can get your blood pressure checked.

“We are also working with GPs and pharmacies to invite people into the NHS Health Check programme – as well as getting your blood pressure checked you will be asked some simple questions that can help you know about how healthy your heart is. This is a free check every 5 years for people aged 40 to 74.

“If you get an invite I urge you not to ignore it.  Making small, healthy lifestyle changes can really help keep blood pressure low and prevent developing life-threatening health conditions. If residents would like support making those lifestyle changes, we have our free LiveWell Dorset service.”

For more information please visit https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/high-blood-pressure-hypertension/ or if you have concerns contact your GP practice.

Checks will be available from 11am and will continue during the afternoon until 3pm depending on demand. No appointments are needed.