Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it. High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms but if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.
What is Blood Pressure?
Blood pressure is the pressure of blood in your arteries – the vessels that carry your blood from your heart to your brain and the rest of your body. You need a certain amount of pressure to get the blood moving round your body.
Your blood pressure naturally goes up and down throughout the day and night, and it’s normal for it to go up while you’re moving about. It’s when your overall blood pressure is consistently high, even when you are resting, that you need to do something about it.
What causes high Blood Pressure?
There isn’t always an explanation for the cause of high blood pressure, but most people develop high blood pressure because of their diet, lifestyle, medical condition. It can also run in families and increase with age.
How is blood pressure measured?
Blood pressure is usually measured using a sphygmomanometer – a digital electronic monitor, which is connected to an inflatable cuff that is wrapped around your upper arm.
Blood pressure is recorded with 2 numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
Everyone’s blood pressure will be slightly different. What’s considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.
Where can I measure my Blood Pressure?
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- at home using a home blood pressure monitor
- at your GP surgery
- at some pharmacies
- as part of an NHS Health Check
How can I monitor my Blood Pressure at home?
Image from British Heart Foundation.
How can I submit a reading to the surgery?
How can I lower my blood pressure?
Visit Blood Pressure UK here to find out how you can lower your BP.
The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme
The NHS Digital Weight Management Programme supports adults living with obesity who also have a diagnosis of diabetes, hypertension or both, to manage their weight and improve their health.
It is a 12-week online behavioural and lifestyle programme that people can access via a smartphone or computer with internet access.