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Getting a blood pressure test

High blood pressure (hypertension) often doesn't

have any symptoms, so the only way to find out if

you have it is to get your blood pressure checked.

Having this done is easy and could save your life.

Healthy adults aged over 40 should have their blood

pressure checked at least once every five years.

If you are at an increased risk of high blood pressure,

you should have your blood pressure checked more

often, ideally once a year.

You can ask for a blood pressure check – you don't

have to wait to be offered one. Blood pressure

testing is also part of the NHS Health Check for

adults aged 40-74.

The test

Blood pressure is measured at the pharmacy using an automatic device.

Before having your blood pressure taken, you should rest for at least five minutes and empty your bladder. To get

an accurate blood pressure reading you should be sitting down with your back supported and legs uncrossed, and

not talking when the reading is taken.

Confirming if you have high blood pressure

Having a raised blood pressure reading in one test does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. Feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can also raise your blood pressure. You may also have blood and urine tests to check for conditions that are known to cause an increase in blood pressure, such as kidney disease.

Understanding your blood pressure reading

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg)

and it is recorded as two figures:

Systolic pressure (the top number)

The pressure of the blood when your heart pushes blood

out

Diastolic pressure (the bottom number)

The pressure of the blood when your heart rests in

between beats, which reflects how strongly your arteries

are resisting blood flow

o If your GP says your blood pressure is "140 over 90" or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg o Ideally, your blood pressure reading should be below 120/80mmHg (for the lowest possible risk of disease). However, anything under 130/80mmHg is generally considered normal. o You are said to have high blood pressure if readings on separate occasions consistently show your blood pressure to be 140/90mmHg or higher. o If you have kidney disease, diabetes or a condition that affects your heart and circulation, your target blood pressure should be below 130/80mmHg.