May Measurement Month 2022

4th May 2022

May Measurement Month (MMM) is the mass synchronised global blood pressure screening campaign conceived in 2017. It is an initiative led by the International Society of Hypertension (ISH) and endorsed by the World Hypertension League. The awareness month focusses on the issues surrounding raised blood pressure.

The Number One Cause of Death Worldwide

Raised blood pressure (often called hypertension) is the number one cause of death worldwide. Around 10 million people die each year due to conditions related to high blood pressure – such as heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure – but unless hypertension is detected it cannot be treated to prevent these conditions.

According to a recent study, only 50% of people who have hypertension realise they have it, despite the fact that detection is very simple. It costs very little and takes only a few minutes to measure someone’s blood pressure – which if raised can be easily treated.

Professor Neil Poulter, President of the International Society of Hypertension, says: “We want May Measurement Month to help turn 50% awareness to 100%. When we reach that level, we can stop!”

During the inaugural year of May Measurement Month in 2017, the blood pressure screenings conducted identified over 140,000 people with previously unidentified hypertension and over 100,000 with inadequately treated hypertension, all of whom could then take action to improve their health. In following years, the blood pressure of millions of people over 100 countries have been assessed.

Professor Poulter said: “The common desire to increase awareness of the issues surrounding hypertension is what made this all possible. We can often reduce blood pressure with known lifestyle changes and existing drugs, but unless people know they have hypertension they can’t be treated. So, a key objective of May Measurement Month is, not only to increase public awareness, but also to collect the evidence needed to help influence global health policy and make blood pressure screening more widely available around the world.”

The global breadth of May Measurement Month covers vastly differing cultures – including the Philippines, China, India, South America, Africa and parts of Europe including the UK. The screenings themselves have been held in many locations, including hospitals, community centres, schools, supermarkets and factories. 94 countries took part in 2021.

Top Tips for Lowering Blood Pressure

Whilst you should always contact a professional to assess your blood pressure and to seek advice accordingly, there are some simple things you can do to lower high blood pressure, including:

Watch your Waistline

Blood pressure tends to increase as weight increases. Weight loss is one of the most effective lifestyle changes for controlling blood pressure. In general, men are more at risk of hypertension if their waist measurement is greater than 40 inches, women are at more risk if their waist measurement is greater than 35 inches.

Exercise Often

Regular physical activity can lower blood pressure by about 5-8mm Hg, if you have high blood pressure. Some good examples of exercise to maintain a healthy blood pressure are walking, jogging, cycling, swimming or dancing.

Eat Healthily

Eating a diet of whole grains, fruits, vegetables and low-fat dairy can lower blood pressure by up to 11mm Hg, if you have high blood pressure. Try to avoid saturated fat whenever possible.

Reduce Salt Intake

Even a small reduction in sodium in your diet can improve your heart health. Generally speaking, you should limit sodium to 2,300mg a day.

Limit Alcohol Consumption

One small alcoholic drink a day for women and two small alcoholic drinks for men can actually help to lower your blood pressure! But drinking too much can be detrimental and raise blood pressure by several points.

Stub out the Smoking

Quitting smoking can reduce your risk of high blood pressure, heart disease and improve your overall health. Simply put, people who don’t smoke are likely to live longer than those who do.

Manage Stress

Chronic stress can contribute to high blood pressure. With this in mind, try to avoid stress triggers whenever possible, develop coping mechanisms when you can’t and practice techniques that evoke relaxation and enjoyment.

Easy Squeezy

Getting your blood pressure checked is easy squeezy! You can sign up for alerts on the May Measure Month website, where they will let you know where screenings will be happening throughout the month.

Imperial Pharmacy

For advice about blood pressure monitoring and how to measure it correctly, along with top tips on keeping your blood pressure levels healthy – take a trip to Imperial Pharmacy in The Pantiles. Their experienced pharmacy staff are on hand to help keep your measurements magnificent during May and beyond!

Find out more about May Measurement Month.

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