NHS Health Check

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

Your blood pressure result

Now you have your blood pressure test result

At your NHS Health Check, your blood pressure will have been tested. Blood pressure is the force that your blood exerts on the walls of your arteries. You can find out more in Your blood pressure test.

If your blood pressure is outside the healthy range, your GP or health professional may have discussed this with you.

The results

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg) and it is recorded as two figures:

  • systolic pressure: the pressure when your heart beats and squeezes blood into your arteries
  • diastolic pressure: the pressure when your heart rests between beats 

The result is usually described as, for example, '120 over 80'. This means a systolic pressure of 120mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 80mmHg. This would be written 120/80mmHg.

What your result means

Normal blood pressure is between 90/60mmHg and 140/90mmHg. If your results fall outside this range, your GP or health professional may discuss this with you.

Low blood pressure doesn't necessarily indicate a health problem. It can give you some protection against developing high blood pressure in the future. Low blood pressure is typically only a problem when it's accompanied by symptoms such as dizziness or fainting, which may be signs of an underlying health condition.

If, over a number of weeks, your reading is consistently 140/90mmHg or higher you probably have high blood pressure. Your blood pressure may also be high if just one of the numbers is higher than it should be.

High blood pressure is a problem because it increases the risk of serious vascular health problems such as heart attack, stroke and kidney disease.

High blood pressure often causes no symptoms, so it's possible to have high blood pressure without knowing it.

Having one raised blood pressure reading does not necessarily mean you have high blood pressure. Blood pressure can fluctuate throughout the day. For example, feeling anxious or stressed when you visit your GP can raise your blood pressure.

Therefore, you will probably be given a blood pressure kit to take home so you can monitor your blood pressure level throughout the day. This will confirm whether you have consistently high blood pressure.

Around 30% of people in England have high blood pressure, but many aren't aware of it. Usually, there is no single identifiable cause of high blood pressure.

Take action

If your NHS Health Check has revealed that you have high blood pressure, your GP or health professional may talk to you about lowering it.

It's important to stick to any plan that you made together. There's lots of information, advice and support on NHS Choices that can help. Learn more in Lowering your blood pressure.

Page last reviewed: 15/05/2013

Next review due: 15/05/2015

Comments

Hypertension

High blood pressure has no symptoms, but if it's not treated it can damage the kidneys, heart and brain.

Media last reviewed: 22/11/2013

Next review due: 22/11/2015

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