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High blood pressure (hypertension)

About high blood pressure

Hypertension is the medical term used to describe high blood pressure. Having high blood pressure can put you more at risk of having a heart attack or a stroke. Common causes of high blood pressure include drinking too much alcohol, sleep apnoea, obesity, and some medications. High blood pressure can also run in families, so you may have inherited it.

To learn more about blood pressure, read this Blood Pressure factsheet, from the Heart Foundation of New Zealand.

You can also read more about high blood pressure and watch a short animation, also from the Heart Foundation.

Do I have high blood pressure?

There are not usually any warning signs or symptoms of having high blood pressure. If you are worried about your health, make an appointment with your general practice team.

From your mid 30s, it's best to get your blood pressure checked once a year. This is because you can have high blood pressure for a long time, without knowing it, making you more at risk of heart attacks and stroke. You can often get your blood pressure checked for little cost, or even for free, by a practice nurse or at a pharmacy or work health check.

On the next page: High blood pressure tests and diagnosis

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed September 2015.

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High blood pressure tests and diagnosis

Self-care for high blood pressure

More information about high blood pressure

Page reference: 535458

Review key: HIHBP-25277