Bermuda Heart

High Blood Pressure

Anyone can develop high blood pressure (also known as hypertension). High blood pressure can increase you risk of heart attack or stroke.

High blood pressure usually has no warning signs. Therefore, it is important to have regular blood pressure checks.
The only way to tell if you are having problems with your blood pressure is to have it measured. It is normal for your blood pressure to rise and fall during the day, but if your blood pressure stays high for a long time (usually 3 months) then you have high blood pressure.

What is blood pressure and what do my numbers mean?

  • Blood pressure is the force of blood against the artery wall
  • When the heart beats, blood is pumped around the body. Your blood pressure is at its highest when the heart beats, pumping the blood. This is called the systolic pressure
  • When the heart is at rest, between beats, your blood pressure falls. This is called your diastolic pressure
  • When your blood pressure reading is taken both the systolic and the diastolic numbers will be recorded
  • If your blood pressure reads 120/80 mmHg (millimetres of mercury), this means your systolic - or upper - pressure is 120, and your diastolic - or lower - pressure is 80
  • Ideally, your blood pressure should be below 140/85 but if you've had a heart attack, stroke, have diabetes or have been diagnosed with coronary heart disease, your blood pressure should be below 130/80
  • Aim for a blood pressure of 120/85.

Remember that smoking around others can damage their health too.

What causes high blood pressure

In most people we donít know what causes high blood pressure, but high blood pressure often runs in families. Occasionally kidney or glandular diseases may be responsible.
Lifesyle factors that are thought to be causes include:

  • Being overweight
  • Excessive alcohol intake,
  • A high salt intake and
  • Lack of physical activity

What is Blood Pressure?
Download our printable guide to blood pressure

Next steps

Controlling your blood pressure

If you have been told you are at risk of high blood pressure or other risk factors it is recommended that you have a yearly Heart health check (Heart WOF). Contact your doctor/practice nurse for more information.

If your doctor has prescribed medications to help lower your blood pressure, take as directed. Many people who take blood pressure lowering medication will need it for life.

Check ups

If you are taking blood pressure medication, it is important to have your blood pressure monitored every three months until it is controlled and then every six months. If you think you have any side-effects from your medication, report them to your doctor immediately


Simple lifestyle modifications are important for the prevention and treatment of high blood pressure.

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