“Without symptoms, people with high blood pressure may go years without knowing they have the condition,” it warns.
The only way of knowing if you have high blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.
The NHS advises all adults over 40 to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.
You can get your blood pressure tested at:
- Your GP surgery
- At some pharmacies
- As part of your NHS Health Check
You can also check your blood pressure yourself with a home blood pressure monitor.
Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers – the systolic pressure and the diastolic pressure.
The systolic pressure (the higher number) is the force the heart pumps blood around your body.
The diastolic pressure (the lower number) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels.
“Risk factors include being overweight, having too much salt in your diet, not doing enough physical activity, drinking too much alcohol and having a family history of high blood pressure,” advises the British Heart Foundation.
It adds: “We also know that people from an African Caribbean background and people living in deprived areas may be at higher risk.”
High blood pressure can be prevented by maintaining a healthy weight, reducing your salt intake, eating plenty of fruit and vegetables and being physically active.
Cutting down on caffeine and stopping smoking may also help.