High blood pressure - symptoms and treatment

Blood pressure assessment

 

Many people with high blood pressure feel fine, so it’s important to get your blood pressure checked regularly.

Symptoms of high blood pressure

High blood pressure rarely has noticeable symptoms. The following can be symptoms of high blood pressure:

  • Blurred vision
  • Nosebleeds
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches

More than 1 in 4 adults in the UK have high blood pressure but many will not know they have it. Many people with high blood pressure feel fine. But even if you feel fine, you should still have your blood pressure checked regularly. If you're a healthy adult over 40, it's recommended that you get it checked at least once every five years. But if you're at increased risk of high blood pressure, you should have it checked more often, ideally once a year. 

Where can I get my blood pressure measured or tested?

You can get your blood pressure checked at:

  • GP surgeries
  • some pharmacies
  • some workplaces

If you are aged 40–74 you can ask for an NHS health check in England only, but similar schemes are available in other parts of the UK. Your doctor should write to you every five years about this, but you can also just make an appointment to check your blood pressure.

How can I lower my blood pressure?

Here are some of the ways you can reduce your chances of getting high blood pressure:

Things you can do to lower blood pressure image

Jasmine shares her story of how she brought her blood pressure down:

 

Check out our healthy living pages for more help with lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk of heart and circulatory diseases.

Lifestyle changes you can make

 

If you are already being treated for high blood pressure and have any concerns about it, you should make an appointment with your GP. Do not stop taking your medication unless your GP tells you to.

Medications or treatments for high blood pressure

There are many medicines available for reducing blood pressure. Your doctor will offer you medicines if your blood pressure is considered to be high and any of the following apply to you:

  • if you have damage to the blood vessels in your heart, brain, kidneys or eyes
  • if you have heart or circulatory disease, or you are at high risk of developing it
  • if you have kidney disease
  • if you have diabetes

Your doctor may also recommend that you take medicines to lower your blood pressure if your blood pressure is consistently very high, regardless of any other problems you may have.

Medicines used to treat high blood pressure

Most people need to take more than one type of medicine to lower their blood pressure, and research suggests that taking two or more medicines often has a much better effect than taking just one.

Help and support

If you have high blood pressure, it’s important to know that you’re not alone. It’s important to find support from the people around you and healthcare professionals. Make sure you check your blood pressure and keep a diary of your readings regularly, so you can see your progress.

Join our HealthUnlocked community.

Call our Heart Helpline at 0300 330 3311 to speak to one of our Cardiac Nurses. They can give you information and support about heart and circulatory diseases, and their risk factors.