Well, so are we at YourPressure.
Part of the reason that we started on the process that led to YourPressure was that we realised that the NHS was going to be under a huge strain in the future. People are getting older, most medical interventions are getting more expensive, and we are living in the age of austerity. This is going to put a strain on the NHS. The NHS is going to have to learn how to do more, with less.
The good news is that we think that there are ways to do that. Specifically by using existing technologies such as your smartphone and Facebook and Twitter to allow people to manage their health in a new and easy way.
You probably already know that the biggest cause of preventable deaths in the UK is smoking. What you may not know is that one of the other big causes of preventable death and disability is high blood pressure….
Currently, it is estimated that 5 million people in the UK have high blood pressure but aren’t aware of it.
5 million. That’s almost a tenth of the population. One member of your football team.
Roughly the same number of people already know they’ve got high blood pressure, but half of them aren’t on any treatment. That’s another 2 and a half million people.
Finally, of the 2 and a half million who are on treatment, half of them again are not on enough treatment. That’s another 1 and a quarter million people.
So overall that’s roughly 8 and ¾ million people in the UK who have high blood pressure and are either unaware of it, or it is not being effectively controlled.
That’s 8 and ¾ million people who are putting themselves at unnecessary risk of developing ill health and chronic diseases.
However the great news is that high blood pressure is easily treatable. We’ve done lots of research, and we’ve got lots of good medications to treat it. As a bonus they’re medications that have been around for yonks, are very safe, and offer great value for money for the NHS.
At YourPressure we understand that many people worry about the side effects of medications. What we want to do is to start to put the control in your hands. As GPs, we find that if we listen to our patients, we can usually find a combination of medication that suits them. We want to put this information in your hands, so that you can start to make the choices to allow you to live a longer and healthier life.
So if everyone who had high blood pressure knew about it, and was on the correct treatment, it would benefit them, and it would also benefit the NHS.
This is because they’d be more likely to live longer, healthier lives. For the NHS this would mean billions of pounds in savings. Money that could then be spent trying to solve the really difficult problems such as childhood cancers or the causes of dementia that aren’t linked to high blood pressure.
To us, it really is a no-brainer. Find out what your blood pressure is. Keep an eye on it. Get it treated if you need to. Reduce your risk of needing expensive treatment later in life.
Live well. Live longer.
And save the NHS whilst you’re at it….