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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.

Men should start having regular heart checks from around the age of 45 and women should start having them from age 55. If you're at risk of having high blood pressure, or if you're of Māori, Pasifika or Indian descent, you should start having checks from age 30.

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.

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On the next page: High blood pressure tests and diagnosis

Written by HealthInfo clinical advisers. Last reviewed June 2018.

Page reference: 822435

Review key: HIHBP-25277