So you’ve been told your blood pressure is too high?

Health risks

High blood pressure doesn’t have any noticeable symptoms but, if left untreated, it can cause significant damage to arteries and organs. The narrowing of the arteries, for example, can cause strokes, heart attacks, heart failure, angina, kidney failure and narrowing of the leg arteries.

What causes high blood pressure?

There isn’t always an explanation for the cause of high blood pressure.

Read more about potential causes of hypertension

What treatment is available for hypertension?

First line management is simple lifestyle changes as outlined in the lifestyle section. If your blood pressure remains high you may be prescribed medicine to control it. This will reduce your risk of having a heart attack or stroke.

Most people require two or three medicines to reduce their blood pressure to recommended levels. It is sometimes more effective to use two or more drugs which work on different areas of the body to reduce blood pressure and minimise the risk of side effects.

Trying to be more active, losing weight if you are overweight, limiting salt and alcohol can all improve blood pressure – sometimes as much as taking one additional blood pressure medicine and with additional health benefits!

Read more about preventing high blood pressure

Many people are now eligible for a FREE blood Pressure check from their Community Pharmacy as part of a new NHS service called the National Hypertension Case Finding Service

Those eligible for the service are:-


  • Adults who are 40 years old or over, who haven’t already got a diagnosis of high blood pressure.
  • Adults under the age of 40 who request the service because they have a recognised family history of high blood pressure may receive the service at the pharmacist’s discretion.
  • People between 35 and 39 years old who are approached about or request a blood pressure check may be tested at the pharmacist’s discretion.

What is 24-Hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring?

24-hour Ambulatory Blood Pressure Monitoring (ABPM) involves your blood pressure being measured at regular time intervals over 24 hours as you move around, going about your normal daily activities. It uses a small digital blood pressure machine that is attached to a belt around your body and connected to a cuff around your upper arm. It is small enough that you can go about your normal daily life and even sleep with.