Could you have Hypertension (High Blood Pressure) or a history of it?

September 5th – 11th is National know your numbers week. To encourage those over 40 to check their blood pressure and make an appointment to see a clinician if they have a high reading.

Over 40% of all strokes and heart attacks are associated with high blood pressure, which is the 3rd biggest risk factor for premature death and disability in England.

It is estimated that across Dorset as many as 83400 patients are undiagnosed, untreated, and therefore at increased risk of stroke or heart attack.

Across Dorset, by identifying those at risk we could potentially stop 1000’s of avoidable heart attack and strokes. As well as extending life, improving quality of life - and reducing the health burden for you and your loved ones.

Know your numbers week is a great opportunity to remind you to get your blood pressure checked!


A blood pressure test checks if your blood pressure is healthy, or if it's high or low. Blood pressure is the term used to describe the strength with which your blood pushes on the sides of your arteries as it's pumped around your body. Low blood pressure (hypotension) is not usually a problem, although it can cause dizziness and fainting in some people. High blood pressure (hypertension) can increase your risk of developing serious problems, such as heart attacks and strokes, if it's not treated. Having this quick test is the only way to find out what your blood pressure is – and it could save your life.

Blood pressure is recorded with 2 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 (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you're over 80)

Ideal blood pressure is usually considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg

Blood pressure readings between 120/80mmHg and 140/90mmHg could mean you're at risk of developing high blood pressure if you do not take steps to keep your blood pressure under control


When and where to get your blood pressure tested

  • Local pharmacies – including Well Sherborne & Abbey Pharmacy will check your blood pressure.
  • You can buy a simple machine for you to test your own BP at home!
  • If you're over 40, you can have this test done as part of an NHS Health Check, which is offered to adults in England aged 40 to 74 every 5 years.
  • If you have already been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you have a high risk of developing either, you may need more frequent checks of your blood pressure.
  • You can get your blood pressure tested with a nurse at your local GP surgery.

Hypertension is a very common long term condition which can be treated by lifestyle changes &/or medication. If your blood pressure is too high, it puts extra strain on your heart & blood vessels, this can lead to a heart attack or stroke, among other things, so it's very important to monitor your blood pressure yourself regularly. 

We recommend that you purchase a Blood Pressure machine to keep at home. You can purchase them from Boots, Argos & Amazon and they can be as little as £20. Choose a machine that measures your blood pressure at your upper arm, not your wrist or finger. Let your GP know that you are doing this.

If you have hypertension you will be called for an annual blood pressure review (we try to stagger these by birth month). When you are called, it is worth bringing a weeks worth of blood pressure readings with you to the appointment so that the Nurse can assess them, as, at times, when taken in surgery your BP can be alittle high just because you are worried about the appointment or have been rushing about. Please use an actual home blood pressure form to record your readings & average them. Here is a verified form: Home BP Monitor Diary  Unfortunately we cannot accept readings on scraps of paper.

If you are taking prescribed medication for your high blood pressure you will also need an annual blood test.

More information on Hypertension can be found here: Blood Pressure UK website


Published: Apr 27, 2022