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Why blood pressure matters

High blood pressure can lead to a number of serious health problems, which is why it’s so important to know your numbers

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More than 14 million adults in the UK have high blood pressure. And, because there are rarely any symptoms associated with this condition, it’s estimated that some 5.5 million cases are undiagnosed.

If you know you have high blood pressure, you can start to make lifestyle changes to reduce it – therefore reducing your risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.

Blood pressure: what you need to know

Blood pressure refers to how strongly your heart pumps blood around your body, and then how much this pressure drops between heartbeats.

Blood pressure info - what you need to know

Testing your blood pressure

People aged 40+ should have their blood pressure tested every 5 years to detect any potential problems as early as possible

Get your blood pressure tested at:

Testing your blood pressure

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Understanding your blood pressure

A blood pressure test results in two numbers:

  • Systolic pressure – when your heart beats to push blood out
  • Diastolic pressure – when your heart rests between beats

What you hear: “Your blood pressure is 140 over 90”

What it means: Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). If you are told these numbers, it means have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg

A guide to knowing your numbers:

Blood pressure numbers

Managing your blood pressure

If your blood pressure is too high or too low, your GP or a healthcare professional will suggest ways to control it that might include:

Managing your blood pressure artwork

You might also be prescribed medications, such as:

  • Angiotensin-converting-enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
  • Angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs)
  • Calcium channel blockers

Know your numbers with a quick and easy blood pressure test, and encourage family members and friends to do the same by sharing this guide.


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