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High blood pressure can increase your risk of heart disease
If your blood pressure is consistently higher than it should be it is called high blood pressure (or hypertension).
High blood pressure is not a disease in itself. However, it can lead to an increased risk of heart disease and strokes. Over the years high blood pressure slowly damages the blood vessels by making them narrower and more rigid. This means that:
This is what happens in heart attacks and strokes.
High blood pressure rarely has any symptoms
High blood pressure very rarely has any symptoms. The only way to know what your blood pressure is, is to have it measured.
High blood pressure is more common as you get older so it's important to get it checked regularly. Your doctor will be able to advise you how often you should have your blood pressure checked. You can also monitor your blood pressure at home using a home monitor.
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and is recorded as two readings:
These readings are recorded for example as 120 / 70mmHg.
There are several groups of drugs used to treat high blood pressure, each of which work slightly differently.
Changes to lifestyle risk factors can significantly reduce high blood pressure in some people. In particular: