A blood pressure test is a simple way of checking if your blood pressure is too high or too 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.
When should I get my blood pressure tested?
A blood pressure test is the only way to find out if your blood pressure is too high or too low, because most people won’t have any obvious symptoms. Having a test is easy and could save your life.
You can ask for a blood pressure test if you’re worried about your blood pressure at any point.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- at your local GP surgery
- at some pharmacies
- in some workplaces
- at home (see home blood pressure testing below)
- at an NHS Health Check appointment offered to adults in England aged 40-74
It’s recommended that all adults over 40 years of age have their blood pressure tested at least every five years so any potential problems can be detected early.
If you’ve already been diagnosed with high or low blood pressure, or you’re at a particularly high risk of these problems, you may need to have more frequent tests to monitor your blood pressure.
Controlling your blood pressure
If your blood pressure is found to be too high or too low, your GP or the healthcare professional performing the test can advise you about ways to control it.
This may involve:
- adopting a healthy, balanced diet and restricting your salt intake
- getting regular exercise
- cutting down on alcohol
- losing weight
- stopping smoking
- taking medication, such as angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors or calcium channel blockers
In some cases, you may be referred to a doctor such as a cardiologist (heart specialist) to discuss treatment options.