Birmingham's hi-tech health boost

By on 04/11/2014 in Cllr Cotton, News

Ten hi-tech health monitors installed in locations across the city are already making their mark.

Birmingham City Council’s Public Health department has funded the state-of-the-art Health Monitors which are free to use in a range of locations across the city.

And the machines, which monitor height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure, have already been used over 10,000 times in just three months.

The latest – installed in Aston’s New Jerusalem Apostolic Church – aims to provide an early warning system for stroke, heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions in the city’s African Caribbean population.

Users are given a printout of their results and offered health advice on weight loss, hypertension, heart disease, diabetes and more.

Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, said: “There’s no substitute for seeing a health professional if you’re worried about your health but these machines act as an early warning system for a number of problems.

“The results give people a nudge towards seeing their GP to discuss concerns or making healthy changes to their lifestyle like losing weight, drinking less, using less salt.

“This is about getting people to take more control over their own health. There’s been a lot of talk recently about the importance of prevention and if we can get an early warning of problems, we can help people make changes to their lifestyles to hopefully lead longer, healthier lives.”

High blood pressure

  • 1 in 3 UK adults under the age of 65 have high blood pressure and 1 in 3 also do not have any symptoms
  • People with high blood pressure are 3 times more likely to develop heart disease and stroke

Who is most at risk?

Your chances of having high blood pressure increase as you get older. There is often no clear cause of high blood pressure but you are at increased risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • smoke
  • are of African or Caribbean descent
  • eat too much salt
  • don’t do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol
  • are aged over 65

If you fall into any of the groups listed above, consider making changes to your lifestyle to lower your risk of high blood pressure. Also consider having your blood pressure checked more often, ideally about once a year.

Prevention and treatment

You can take steps to prevent high blood pressure by:

  • losing weight if you need to
  • reducing the amount of salt you eat
  • exercising regularly
  • eating a healthy diet
  • cutting back if you drink too much alcohol
  • stopping smoking

The health monitors are  situated in:

  • Lancaster Circus offices
  • Woodcock St offices
  • Birmingham and Solihull Mental Health Foundation Trust (2)
  • Lifford House offices
  • Heartlands Hospital (2)
  • New Jerusalem Church
  • Queen Elizabeth Hospital (2 monitors soon to be installed)
  • Sandwell Hospital (2 monitors soon to be installed)

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