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We are asking all our adult patients to have their blood pressure measured and this is why: According to Blood Pressure UK, 6 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and don’t know it! We believe all WellBN adult patients should know their blood pressure numbers in the same way they know their height and weight. Once you are aware of your blood pressure numbers you can take steps to look after your blood pressure and lead a long and healthy life.

If you have been asked to measure your blood pressure you can submit it here. We ususally ask you to send in a “one-off” measurement, however, if you have already had a high reading we will ask you to measure for 7 days. If you have had a high reading, we would reccommend you purchase a blood pressure machine (if you are not able to purchase one, we may be able to lend you one).  Read more about how to do a 7- day Home Blood Pressure Monitoring.

High blood pressure and CVD

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. Around a third of 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.

What is high blood pressure?

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’re both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As a general guide:

High blood pressure is considered to be from 140/90mmHg (or an average of 135/85mmHg at home) – or 150/90mmHg (or an average of 145/85mmHg at home) if you’re over the age of 80

Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg, while the target for over-80s is below 150/90mmHg (or 145/85mmHg at home)

Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you’re at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Risks of high blood pressure

If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs, such as the brain, kidneys and eyes. Persistent high blood pressure can increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. If you have high blood pressure, reducing it even a small amount can help lower your risk.

Check your blood pressure

The only way of knowing whether you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test. All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every 5 years. Getting this done is easy and could save your life.

You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:

  • in the waiting room at your GP surgery
  • at some pharmacies
  • in some workplaces
  • you can purchase a blood pressure machine
  • you may be elegible to borrow a blood pressure machine

Things that can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure

It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are things that can increase your risk. You might be more at risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • do not do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
  • are over 65
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of black African or black Caribbean descent
  • live in a deprived area

Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.

Things that can increase your risk of getting high blood pressure

It’s not always clear what causes high blood pressure, but there are things that can increase your risk. You might be more at risk if you:

  • are overweight
  • eat too much salt and do not eat enough fruit and vegetables
  • do not do enough exercise
  • drink too much alcohol or coffee (or other caffeine-based drinks)
  • smoke
  • do not get much sleep or have disturbed sleep
  • are over 65
  • have a relative with high blood pressure
  • are of black African or black Caribbean descent
  • live in a deprived area

Making healthy lifestyle changes can sometimes help reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure and help lower your blood pressure if it’s already high.

What happens if you have high blood pressure readings

If the average of your 7-day blood pressure monitoring is high, we will carry out investigations to ensure you do not have any organ damage:

  1. You will need a blood test and asked to give us a urine sample. This is to check for conditions that can cause or worsen high blood pressure. Tests are done to check your cholesterol, blood sugar levels, your kidney, liver and thyroid function.
  2. We will refer you for an ECG. This quick and painless test measures the heart’s electrical activity. It can tell how fast or how slow the heart is beating. During an ECG, sensors called electrodes are attached to the chest and sometimes to the arms or legs. Wires connect the sensors to a machine, which prints or displays results.
  3. You will need an appointment with your optitian. Due to their large demand for oxygen, tiny blood vessels in the eyes’ retinas can easily be damaged by high blood pressure. During a comprehensive eye examination, your optitian checks for the many subtle changes high blood pressure causes to the retina, a condition known as hypertensive retinopathy.