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Know your BP numbers

Blood pressure cuff

Measure. Modify. Manage.

6 million people in the UK have high blood pressure and are not aware of it. High blood pressure usually has no symptoms, the first sign of it could be a heart attack or stroke. Serious illness linked to high blood pressure can be prevented with medication and lifestyle changes. Blood Pressure UK encourage home monitoring as the easiest way to ‘Know your numbers!’, take control of your health, and take the pressure off the NHS at the same time. You don’t necessarily have to visit your GP or practice nurse to get you blood pressure checked. Home blood pressure monitoring is an effective and inexpensive way to keep blood pressure under control.

Measure your blood pressure to see if it’s under control. When you have your blood pressure measured, you will be given two numbers, a top number and a bottom number.

  • Systolic blood pressure -  this is the first, or top, number. This is the highest level your blood pressure reaches when your heart beats, forcing blood around your body.
  • Diastolic blood pressure - the second number, or bottom number, is the lowest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart relaxes between beats.

Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury (mmHg). If the first number is 120 and the second number is 80, this would be written as 120/80mmHg, and you’d call it ‘120 over 80’. 120/80 is the ideal or ‘normal’ blood pressure.

Find out more about what the numbers mean!

Modify your lifestyle if necessary, by:

  • Taking regular physical activity
  • Keeping a healthy weight
  • Eating a balanced diet
  • Lowering intake of salt
  • Reducing alcohol consumption
  • Taking medication if necessary 

Manage your blood pressure and your health to beat ‘the silent killer’.

To find out more about the campaign and everything you need to know about blood pressure please visit: