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.  More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many will not realise it.  The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked.

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.  They are both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As a general guide, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you are over the age of 80).  Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. 



Factors that can raise your risk of developing high blood pressure include:

- Age.  The risk of developing high blood pressure increases as you get older
- A family history of high blood pressure
- Being of African or Caribbean origin
- A high amount of salt in your food 
- Lack of exercise
- Being overweight
- Regularly drinking large amounts of alcohol
- Smoking
- Long-term sleep deprivation

In about 1 in 20 cases, high blood pressure happens as the result of an underlying health condition or taking a certain medicine.  Health conditions that can cause high blood pressure include:

Kidney disease
Long-term kidney infections
Obstructive sleep apnoea – where the walls of the throat relax and narrow during sleep, interrupting normal breathing
Glomerulonephritis – damage to the tiny filters inside the kidneys
Narrowing of the arteries supplying the kidneys
Hormone problems, such as an underactive thyroid, an overactive thyroid, cushing's syndrome, acromegaly, increased levels of the hormone aldosterone  Hyperaldosteronism, and phaeochromocytoma
Lupus – a condition in which the immune system attacks parts of the body, such as the skin, joints and organs
Scleroderma – a condition that causes thickened skin and sometimes problems with organs and blood vessels

To learn more about hypertension, click here


Hypertension does not usually have any symptoms so the only way to find out if you have it is to get your blood pressure checked.

Blood pressure testing is available:

- in our self-testing area in our waiting room (no appointment needed)

- at some pharmacies


What treatment is available ?

Simple lifestyle changes can help reduce high blood pressure, although some people may need to take medicine as well.  Our clinical staff can advise you about changes you can make to your lifestyle and discuss whether they think you would benefit from medicine.