High blood pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure, or hypertension, rarely has noticeable symptoms. But if untreated, it increases your risk of serious problems such as heart attacks and strokes.


More than one in four adults in the UK have high blood pressure, although many won't realise it.


The only way to find out if your blood pressure is high is to have your blood pressure checked. 


What is high blood pressure?

Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The systolic pressure (higher number) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body.

The diastolic pressure (lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. They're both measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg).

As a general guide:

  • high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
  • ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
  • low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower

A blood pressure reading between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you don't take steps to keep your blood pressure under control.

Find out more abouwhat your blood pressure result means.

NHS information on high blood pressure


Medicines for high blood pressure

Your doctor will agree with you the best medicine(s) for you blood pressure based on the NICE guideline and any other conditions you have.

When you are prescribed a medicine for high blood pressure for the first time, you will be eligible for the NHS New Medicines Service, where one of our pharmacists will speak to you in more detail about how to use the treatment.

Listed in alphabetical order the common classes of blood pressure medications include:

·        ACE inhibitors – such as lisinopril, perindopril and ramipril

·        alpha-blockers – such as doxazosin

·        angiotensin-2 receptor blockers (ARBs) – such as candesartan and losartan

·        beta-blockers – such as atenolol and bisoprolol

·        calcium channel blockers – such as amlodipine and felodipine

·        diuretics (“water tablets”) – such as indapamide and bendroflumethiazide

The maker of your medicine provides a patient information leaflet in each box which will give details of how to take the medicine and side effects. If you have any questions at any time about your medicines speak to one of our pharmacists.


Patient groups and support

Blood Pressure UK

British Heart Foundation