4 things you can do to lower your blood pressure

High blood pressure, or hypertension, can be difficult to identify as most people do not experience obvious symptoms until it's more serious.

Around a third of adults in the UK have high blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it can put extra strain on your blood vessels, heart and other organs. Reducing your blood pressure, even by a small amount, can make a big difference to the overall health of your heart.

If high blood pressure is left untreated, it can put you at a higher risk of a heart attack or stroke. Here, Dr Afzal Sohaib, Consultant Cardiologist at The Wellington Hospital, part of HCA Healthcare UK, explains what high blood pressure is, how you can get yourself checked, and the things you can do to lower your risk.

What is considered high blood pressure?

High blood pressure describes what happens when the force of blood surging through your blood vessels is consistently too high. Blood pressure is recorded with two numbers. The higher number (systolic pressure) is the force at which your heart pumps blood around your body. The lower number (diastolic pressure) is the resistance to the blood flow in the blood vessels. As a general guide, high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher (or 150/90mmHg or higher if you're over the age of 80).

How do I get my blood pressure checked?

All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years.

If you’re worried about your risk of having high blood pressure and would like to get it checked, you can speak to your GP or cardiologist. Some pharmacies also offer a blood pressure check too.

The test can also determine if your blood pressure is too low, however you’re likely to have symptoms such as dizziness or feeling faint if this is the case.

How can I reduce my risk of having high blood pressure?

How can I reduce my risk of having high blood pressure?

1. Cut down on salt consumption

Salt raises your blood pressure – so the more salt you eat, the higher your blood pressure. Not adding additional salt to meals can be helpful so can eating a low-fat diet that includes lots of fibre and plenty of fruit and vegetables.

2. Limit your alcohol intake

It’s important to stay within the recommended weekly alcohol intake levels – which is no more than 14 alcohol units a week, spread over several days. Staying within these recommendations is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure, or lowering it if your blood pressure is raised.

3. Improve activity levels

Being overweight forces your heart to work harder to pump blood around your body, which can raise your blood pressure.

By being active and regularly exercising, it can help to keep your heart and blood vessels in good condition and lower your risk of high blood pressure. It’s recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.

4. Cut down on caffeine

Drinking too much caffeine can increase your blood pressure. It’s advised that you drink no more than four cups of coffee a day to maintain good blood pressure levels.

If you would like to seek help or advice from a cardiologist about your heart health, visit