NHS Health Check

Helping you prevent heart disease, stroke, diabetes, kidney disease and dementia

Your blood pressure test

Blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. High blood pressure puts a strain on your arteries and your heart, increasing the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease, stroke and kidney disease.

During an NHS Health Check, your blood pressure will be tested. Your GP, practice nurse or other health professional will use a cuff that fits around your upper arm and is inflated so that it becomes tight.

The test is quick and painless, and most people will have experienced it before.

Why blood pressure matters

High blood pressure is common. Around 30% of adults in England have it but many don't know they do. It often presents no symptoms, but it's important because it raises the risk of serious health problems such as heart disease and stroke.

When your blood pressure is too high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood around your body. Over time, this can weaken your heart. High blood pressure also places a strain on the walls of your arteries, making a blockage more likely.

Your blood pressure

At your NHS Health Check, you may have a discussion about your blood pressure if your GP or other health professional feels that this is appropriate, for example, if your blood pressure test reveals a raised blood pressure.

If you've already had your blood pressure test, learn more in Your blood pressure result.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2013

Next review due: 15/05/2015

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