You probably don’t know if you have high blood pressure

High blood pressure (which is also known as hypertension) rarely has noticeable symptoms; so if you have it, you’re unlikely to realise it. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.

What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is 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 is you're over the age of 80)
  • ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80 mmHg

Everyone's blood pressure will be slightly different. What's considered low or high for you may be normal for someone else.

You can check your blood pressure reading on the NHS website here:

What are the risks if you have 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 a number of serious and potentially life threatening health conditions, such as:

  • heart disease
  • heart attacks
  • strokes
  • heart failure
  • peripheral arterial disease
  • aortic aneurysms
  • kidney disease
  • vascular dementia

What can increase the risk of getting high blood pressure:

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


We’re supporting a project that is helping people in Folkestone & Gravesend to manage their own blood pressure.  Maybe you’d like to get involved and help us support people in these areas, then drop us a line at


Tell us your story about high blood pressure. We can use your experience to help other people

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