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HealthInfo Canterbury

Overview of 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 and being overweight. 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.

Knowing if you have high blood pressure

There aren't usually any warning signs or symptoms of having high blood pressure. If you're worried about your health, make an appointment with your GP.

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.

Heart risk assessments

High blood pressure is just one of the risk factors for heart attack and stroke.

Your GP or nurse can help you do a Heart risk assessment or you can do it yourself. A heart risk assessment gives an estimate of how likely you are to have a heart attack or stroke within the next five years. It takes into account your health and risk factors.

The age you should start having heart risk assessments depends on your sex, ethnicity and other risk factors. See Heart risk assessment for details.

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Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2018.

Page reference: 822435

Review key: HIHBP-25277