Blood pressure and stroke
Failure to detect and control high blood pressure is the single biggest cause of avoidable strokes. High blood pressure 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.
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.
Every year we give thousands of New Zealanders a free blood pressure check. Find out more here.
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
- drinking too much alcohol
- not exercising
- eating a bad diet
- eating too much salt
Here's a table that will help you understand your blood pressure results. A diagnosis of high blood pressure requires more than one reading.
If you think you have high blood pressure, get a check. It could save your life.
Listen to Mau Moananu's story and why he urges everyone to get their blood pressure checked regularly:
Increasingly New Zealanders are monitoring their own blood pressure using battery operated digital monitors. Contact us for more information: firstname.lastname@example.org