High blood pressure service
High blood pressure, also called hypertension, is when the pressure in your blood vessels is unusually high. This can put you more at risk of heart disease, heart attacks, strokes and other serious medical conditions. High blood pressure treatments usually work to help regulate your blood pressure by widening your blood vessels, making it easier for your heart to pump blood around your body.
- Complete a short medical questionnaire
- Highlight a preferred treatment
- Doctor reviews your answers and notes your preferred treatment
Important: If your preferred treatment is not clinically suitable, your doctor will offer an alternative or advise you on what to do next.
High blood pressure treatments available
About high blood pressure tablets
What is 'Normal' Blood Pressure
The ideal, healthy blood pressure level is below 120 over 80 (120/80mmHg). This level of blood pressure lowers the chances of getting heart disease or having a stroke.
Usually, adults in the UK have blood pressure between 120/80 and 140/90. So, if your blood pressure is higher than 120/80, you should take some steps to lower it (and also to stop it going up further). Exercise, keeping to a healthy weight, and having a healthy diet and lifestyle will all help to get your blood pressure back to normal.
If your blood pressure is 140/90 or higher, then you probably have high blood pressure, also known as hypertension. Another sign that you might have high blood pressure is if just one of the numbers is higher over a number of weeks. Over time, consistently high blood pressure can damage your heart and circulatory system, leading to heart disease and strokes. High blood pressure treatment is important in order to prevent dangerous complications.
If your blood pressure is 90/60 or lower, then you have low blood pressure. This can be serious if it is severe and lasts a long time.
How to Accurately Read Your Blood Pressure at Home
Wear loose clothing, so that you can push up your sleeve easily. There are a few things that can raise your blood pressure temporarily: make sure you don’t need the toilet and are not anxious, tense or uncomfortable, don’t take the reading straight after a big meal, or within half an hour of drinking caffeine or smoking.
Both of your arms will give a slightly different reading, so take the readings from one arm only, that way you can track your readings over time. If you can, use the same arm that the doctor or nurse uses when they monitor your blood pressure.
Rest for five minutes before you take your readings. Sit quietly at a table. Rest your arm on a firm surface so that it is supported and put each foot flat on the floor. Put the cuff around your arm (following the instructions that came with the monitor) so that it is level with your heart – use a cushion if needs be so your arm is at the right height. Keep your arm relaxed. Keep still and don’t speak.
Take several readings. Do each one after about a two minute gap and work out the average. It sometimes happens that people record a higher blood pressure for their first reading. If that seems to be happening to you, keep taking the readings until they seem roughly the same and then use that as the reading you record.
You can record your reading on your monitor or make a note of it yourself. However you record it, it is important to keep accurate records – don’t round the readings up or down. It could change how your doctor treats you. Don’t worry too much if you get a one off high reading, but if you are getting consistently high readings, see your doctor. Your doctor will decide whether you need a high blood pressure treatment.
Finally, it has been known for people to get wound up by small changes in their blood pressure because they are reading it too often. Worrying can raise your blood pressure in the short term. So, try not to check it too frequently.
How is high blood pressure treated?
High blood pressure treatment can involve a combination a lifestyle changes and medical treatment. If you blood pressure is only marginally higher than it should be, your GP is likely to recommend lifestyle changes rather than medication. Your treatment will involve physical exercise as well as dietary changes. You will be asked to reduce your intake of saturated fats and cut down on your sugar, salt and alcohol intake. If you are a smoker, it is important that you quit smoking before your blood pressure increases further. If you are overweight, you may have to lose weight to reduce your blood pressure.
If your blood pressure is very high or does not improve as a result of lifestyle changes, you may need a medical high blood pressure treatment. There are different types of medication used to treat hypertension. Often, patients require a combination of two different medications. Common high blood pressure treatments are ACE inhibitors, Calcium channel blockers, Diuretics and Beta-blockers.