Tonight’s update is going to be focused on Public Health issues.
One of things I want to do with this blog is write about what I see while I’m travelling that either highlights issues that are problems for the public’s health or showcases interventions to improve health and wellbeing.
It’s #KnowYourNumbers week in the UK. This is focused on encouraging people to understand their blood pressure.
High blood pressure can lead to heart attacks and strokes, but there are things that people can do to reduce their risk. The NHS provides some very helpful information alongside its blood pressure checker. (You have to know your numbers first).
So, the UK is focusing on high blood pressure this week. I’m in Russia. What’s the relevance?
Russia has significant health issues to address. The World Health Organisation’s life expectancy figures for 2016 show male life expectancy was only 66, while women’s, 77. This is low the WHO European region.
Key issues are heart disease, obesity, smoking and alcohol.
Today’s “Love Your Health” event in Yekaterinburg was focusing on heart health, offering participants a glucose check, a weight measurement and blood pressure check.
It was a great name for an event. We don’t prioritise our own health. There’s always something else to worry about before we look after our health.
The title was a directive and an encouragement.
And of course I took up the checks being offered. They were FREE! It costs at the bare minimum 25p to go to the loo here.
So, my results:
Glucose 5.4mmol/L (It’s good between 3.5 and 6mmol/L)
Weight 72kg which gives me a BMI of 24 (It’s good between 20 and 24).
I was feeling like a very good Public Health professional. Until I spotted the blood pressure cuff.
I put it on and tried to relax. Ever heard of ‘white coat anxiety’? It means getting nervous around health professionals and usually results in a higher blood pressure reading.
Mine was 138/86. What!
I’m sure my blood pressure must have gone even higher when I saw the result. I normally clock in around 110/70 or 120/75.
Today’s figure would put me in the pre-hypertensive (high blood pressure) phase. Actions necessary would be weight loss, quitting smoking, reducing alcohol intake and taking up more exercise.
The “Love Your Event” included support and advice to address most of these issues.
There was dietary advice with recipe demonstrations alongside food preparation for the kids.
There were a lot of physical activity sessions – dance classes and a packed out yoga tent by late afternoon.
There were various talks taking place, one titled “Sober Curious” which I think is a great way to get people interested in discussing alcohol.
And finally, there was this… I truly have no idea.
The other thing about the event – there was a lot of shopping. That’s the way we need to get people to come along to health and wellbeing events in the UK. Shopping!
*Featured photo: The yoga tent with its powerful message.