VISITORS to Exeter Chief’s Sandy Park recently took the opportunity to have a pre-match blood pressure check ahead of the game against Bristol Bears. 

As part of the Know Your Numbers campaign, aimed at people over 40 years of age, community pharmacists, NHS Devon and Devon County Council's (DCC) Public Health team were on hand with blood pressure monitors to offer the free service. 

Around 80 people had their blood pressure checked and just under half of the eligible over 40s tested were given advice to monitor or manage borderline or high readings. 

High blood pressure is responsible for more than half of all strokes and heart attacks, and is also a risk factor for heart disease, kidney disease and vascular dementia. And with relatively few symptoms, that’s why high blood pressure is sometimes called the ‘silent killer’. 

The only way to know you have the condition is to get your blood pressure measured, and to Know Your Numbers. 

PE Teacher, Martin Miller, was one of those aged over 40 at the Chiefs game who had a raised blood pressure reading.  He was followed up within a few days by his local pharmacy, who advised him to check his own blood pressure each day over the next few days at home.

'That was excellent,' says Martin. 'I’d not expected to get a high reading, but now I’m aware of it, there’s opportunity for me to do something about it.'

Steve Brown, Director of Public Health Devon, said: 'Just under half of the over 40s tested before the Chiefs game last Sunday had borderline or high blood pressure readings, which they wouldn’t otherwise have known.

'They’re now able to do something about it. It’s as simple as that. It was a win for the Chiefs on Sunday, but I’d say it’s also a win for those people who now can take steps to reduce their blood pressure, and reduce their risk of related complications.'