Birmingham health bosses are set to increase the number of hi-tech health monitors located across the city after a successful trial in 2014.
Seven state-of-the-art Health Monitors, which measure height, weight, body mass index (BMI) and blood pressure, were installed in locations across Birmingham last August, with an eighth going into Aston’s New Jerusalem Apostolic Church in November.
The free-to-use monitors provide a printout of results and people are encouraged to seek further medical advice if they have concerns.
People are also encouraged to access the many lifestyle services available across Birmingham such as weight management services, physical activity schemes and smoking cessation.
High blood pressure is sometimes called the silent killer, as it often has no symptoms but can significantly increase your risk of heart disease, stroke and dementia.
The Â£3,000 machines make it easy for people to regularly check their blood pressure and have already been used over 12,000 times. Now Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr John Cotton, has given the green-light for more.
He 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, including the ‘silent killer’ high blood pressure.
“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, doing more physical activity or using less salt.
â€œNudging people towards a healthier lifestyle can have a major impact on some of the largest causes of mortality and morbidity in Birmingham.”
One of the next wave of monitors has been offered to Birmingham Central Mosque – people from a South Asian background are more likely than people from other communities in the UK to have certain health conditions, including diabetes and heart disease.
Cllr Cotton added: â€œWeâ€™re targeting a community who are at high risk of developing heart disease and our aim is to help people make changes to their lifestyles to hopefully lead longer, healthier lives.â€
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
- are of South Asian descent
- 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
In total, 8 monitors are now in place in Birmingham with more scheduled for installation:
- 3 are located in council offices â€“ Woodcock St, Lancaster Circus and Lifford House
- 8 will be located in acute hospital trust public areas â€“ Heartlands Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital, Mental Health Trust Community Venues and Sandwell Hospital
- 1 at Aston’s New Jerusalem Apostolic Church
- 1 has been offered to Birmingham Central Mosque.