High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

Approximately 30% of people living in the UK currently suffer from high blood pressure. This increases to approximately two in three people aged 75 years old and over, as blood pressure rises with age.

What is High Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure happens when the pressure of the blood flowing to and from the heart is raised consistently over 140/90mmHg.

In the majority of cases there are no symptoms at all, so it is important to have your blood pressure checked every couple of years.

Symptoms of High Blood Pressure

Some of the symptoms of high blood pressure are:

  • Headaches
  • Dizziness
  • Problems with vision

If high blood pressure is not treated and kept under control, it can cause heart disease or a stroke.

How to help prevent high blood pressure

In about 90% of cases there is no specific cause for high blood pressure. However, you can help to prevent it or to reduce it in the following ways:

  • Have your blood pressure checked every few years (or every year if you’ve had a high or borderline reading in the past).
  • Eat a healthy diet by reducing your salt intake and eating and drinking low-fat dairy products. See our section on Healthy eating and drinking for more information on this.
  • Exercise regularly. See our section on Keeping physically active for more information on this.
  • Stop smoking. See our section on Giving up smoking for more information on this.
  • Reduce alcohol. More than 3 units in one sitting may raise your blood pressure.

Your GP may also prescribe medication to help to lower your blood pressure.

Other Useful Information

Other Useful Organisations

  • Patient Information Centre has a searchable database of over 17,000 health resources in more than 60 languages. Visit the Patient Information Centre website to search the database
  • Healthtalk.org
  • NHS 111 is the new telephone service which has replaced NHS Direct. You can call 111 when you need medical help fast but it’s not a 999 emergency. NHS 111 is a fast and easy way to get the right help, whatever the time.
  • NHS.UK  is a website providing health and medical advice, an online symptom checker and a facility for searching for services near you.

Please note – The content on this website is provided for general information only, and should not be treated as a substitute for the medical advice of your own doctor or any other health care professional. If you are feeling unwell, make an appointment to see your GP or contact NHS 111. In an emergency, dial 999.

Last updated: April 5, 2022