Blood Pressure

Blood pressure


Getting regular blood pressure checks can be your best defence against stroke.


Blood pressure and stroke

High blood pressure is the number one modifiable risk factor for stroke. It puts too much pressure and stress on the walls of blood vessels and increases the risk of both bleeds and blood clots. A person with high blood pressure is up to seven times more likely to have a stroke than someone with normal or low blood pressure. 

One in five New Zealanders experience high blood pressure. Recent research estimates a third of these people don't know it as high blood pressure often has no symptoms.


What is a blood pressure check?

A blood pressure check is quick and painless. Your doctor will be able to carry one out for you, as well as some chemists. It often involves a cuff being placed around your arm and inflated - it feels tight but doesn't hurt. You get the results straight away. Normal blood pressure is around 120/80 (said as "one-twenty over eighty") or lower. High blood pressure is when it is consistently around or over 140/90.

The Stroke Foundation provides thousands of free blood pressure checks to New Zealanders across the country every year. Find out where you can get your check through one of our Blood Pressure Check Vans:

A blood pressure check is quick and painless.

A blood pressure check is quick and painless.

What if I have high blood pressure?

High blood pressure is serious but can be treated. Sometimes, lifestyle changes around a better diet or more exercise will help. Obviously cutting out tobacco products will benefit you, as will keeping your alcohol intake low. Your doctor can also help with medicine to address the issue.

What causes high blood pressure?

Blood pressure tends to rise as we get older and can run in families.

Common causes include:

  • being overweight
  • smoking
  • drinking too much alcohol
  • not exercising
  • eating a bad diet
  • eating too much salt
  • diabetes

Here's a table that will help you understand your blood pressure results. A diagnosis of high blood pressure requires more than one reading.

Blood Pressure Reading

Tips to control your blood pressure and reduce your risk of stroke

simple steps


You can download the poster above here.

Listen to Mau Moananu's story and why he urges everyone to get their blood pressure checked regularly:


Please help us today

Stroke devastates lives. 
Help us rebuild the lives of New Zealanders who experience the impact of stroke. Together, we can give them hope.