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Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

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General Enquiries
02078826255

Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

There's lots you can do to lower your blood pressure and avoid stroke

If you are overweight, losing weight should help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. Keeping to a healthy weight is a very important way to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

News and stories
Map icon

Wolfson Institute of Preventive Medicine, Charterhouse Square, London, EC1M 6BQ

Telephone icon

General Enquiries
02078826255

What herbal medicines can I take to lower blood pressure?

People often like to look into herbal remedies such as hawthorn, hibiscus and ginkgo biloba to lower their blood pressure. There has only been a small amount of research done into these remedies and it’s not enough to know whether they work, so they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the treatments prescribed by your doctor which have a lot of research behind them.

While herbal remedies are thought of as natural’ that does not guarantee that they are safe. If you do decide to take them as a supplement to your prescription medications, let your doctor and your herbalist know, and tell them about any other medicines you take. Some alternative medicines and herbs can interact with other medicines and be harmful.

Eating healthily and being active are both natural ways to lower your blood pressure which can make a big difference, alongside medications if you need them.

Does RESPeRATE work?

"RESPeRATE" is a small battery-powered device that uses musical sounds to help you slow down your breathing to lower your blood pressure. There is some evidence showing it can reduce blood pressure in the short term but how well it works in the long term is less well known.

RESPeRATE is considered a supplementary therapy by the NHS, which means your GP may be able to prescribe it for the price of a normal prescription. Because it is a supplementary therapy, it should be used alongside any other prescribed treatments but not as a replacement.

Do relaxation techniques, meditation and yoga lower blood pressure?

Although limited, there is some evidence that yoga and meditation could help to lower blood pressure. Yoga is a gentle form of exercise which can help keep you physically fit, helping to control your weight which is linked to high blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart disease.

The effects of meditation and yoga appear to be small and it’s not clear what effect they have in the long term, but they are safe and, along with other relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, they could help with your overall wellbeing. For example, helping with stress and depression. These techniques can be used alongside medications and lifestyle changes prescribed by your doctor, but shouldn’t be used as a replacement for them.

Why we are needed

High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke in the UK. More than 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure. All our work is dedicated to lowering the UK's blood pressure for life. In this way we hope to spare many people unnecessary death or disability by helping them to avoid high blood pressure or to keep it under control.

The scale of the problem

  • High blood pressure is an important, but sometimes little recognised, risk factor for the development of stroke and heart disease. It is also factor in kidney disease and some types of dementia. It is responsible worldwide for half of all strokes and heart attacks (World Health Organisation study).

  • In the UK high blood pressure is a massive problem – an estimated 16 million people are affected. That’s one in three adults. As people get older, this proportion increases - around half of people over 50 will have or develop it.

  • Of those people with high blood pressure, one in three are unaware that they have it as it is almost always symptomless. The only way to detect high blood pressure is through a blood pressure check.

  • Historically, high blood pressure has been poorly identified and treated in the UK, although this is improving. This current situation means that many people have poor control of their blood pressure and, ultimately, 125,000 preventable strokes and heart attacks occur every year.

  • High blood pressure can be prevented and successfully treated. Many deaths that occur as a result of the effects of high blood pressure could be avoided with improved detection and management.

How we make a difference

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Our achievements

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About our information

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Become a volunteer or intern

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Trustees

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Which is most important, the top or bottom number?

The top number is your systolic blood pressure, this is the highest level your blood pressure reaches as your heart pumps blood around your body. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, it’s the lowest level your blood pressure reaches between beats. The top number is more important because it gives a better idea of your risk of having a stroke or heart attack.

Having a raised systolic blood pressure but normal or low diastolic blood pressure is called Isolated Systolic Hypertension (ISH). Even though only the top number is raised, it still carries a higher risk of developing heart attacks or strokes and should be treated.

There are some circumstances where diastolic blood pressure may be more important than systolic. Some studies suggest that in people aged under 40, diastolic blood pressure gives a better idea of the risk of health problems, but as heart attacks and strokes are less common in younger people, there is less information available about blood pressure numbers and the risk of these problems.

It could be that diastolic blood pressure becomes more important when it is very high. There is some evidence to suggest that a blood pressure of 180/120mmHg gives a greater risk of stroke or heart attack than 180/100mmHg.

Find out more about what the numbers mean.

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Close up of a persons arm having their blood pressure measured
Changing how blood pressure is measured could save lives

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Date added: Monday, April 20, 2020


Elderly woman having her blood pressure taken
Reduction in salt DOES lower blood pressure and CVD

This winter, two new studies suggest a positive effect of running on heart health. Large new study links "any amount of running" to a lower risk of death from any cause.

Date added: Tuesday, April 21, 2020


Mobile phone displaying the Active 10 app
Active 10 app helps adults get active this summer

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Date added: Tuesday, April 21, 2020


 

Our vision is that everyone will know their blood pressure numbers in the same way that they know their height or weight.

And take steps to keep them healthy both now and in the future.

Blood Pressure UK, previously known as the Blood Pressure Association, is the UK charity dedicated to lowering the nation's blood pressure to prevent disability and death from stroke and heart disease.

Sir David Attenborough is Patron of Blood Pressure UK and our Chairman is Graham MacGregor, Professor of Cardiovascular Medicine, a leading expert in high blood pressure.

Since October 2000 we have been making a real difference to the 16 million people affected by high blood pressure in the UK. We work to ensure that high blood pressure is at the top of everyone's health agenda: within the Government, among health professionals, in the media and for every adult in the UK.

Our award-winning charity offers a range of booklets, magazine, e-newsletters, website, information line and other activities, to help people take control of, or prevent, high blood pressure. We also run the UK's biggest blood pressure testing event Know your Numbers! Week.

  • Our members magazine Postitive Pressure
  • A range of free booklets and information sheets
  • A regular email newsletter, e-Positive Pressure
  • Advice and suppor by telephone, email and letter
Your donationWhat your donation will allow us to provide
£5 Allows us to respond to an email enquirer concerned about hypertension
£10 Enables us to provide follow up information for 1 person who has been found to have high blood pressure and other risk factors linked to having a heart attack or stroke
£25 Allows us to provide a nurse with 40 information leaflets to distribute to patients
£50 Lets us send a free information pack to 20 people worried about their blood pressure
£100 Covers the costs of vascular screening 3 people out in the community, enabling us to potentially identify those who are at risk of having a heart attack or stroke
£150 Supports our Information Line for a day
£200 Pays for an expert advice and support email to be sent to our database of people concerned about their blood pressure

 

Introduction to Blood Pressure UK

Since discovering that I, like nearly a third of the adult population of this country have high blood pressure, I have taken some simple steps to get it controlled. Every adult should know their blood pressure numbers, and if it is raised take the right measures to lower it.

Sir David Attenborough, Patron of Blood Pressure UK
Man taking his own blood pressure reading

There's lots you can do to lower your blood pressure and avoid stroke

If you are overweight, losing weight should help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. Keeping to a healthy weight is a very important way to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy.

News and stories

Stay up to date with the latest Blood Pressure UK news and stories

If you are overweight, losing weight should help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. Kepping to a healthy weight is a very important way to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy

News and stories

There's lots you can do to lower your blood pressure and avoid stroke

If you are overweight, losing weight should help to lower your blood pressure and reduce your risk of health problems. Kepping to a healthy weight is a very important way to keep your heart and blood vessels healthy

Finding the right weight for you

What herbal medicines can I take to lower blood pressure?

People often like to look into herbal remedies such as hawthorn, hibiscus and ginkgo biloba to lower their blood pressure. There has only been a small amount of research done into these remedies and it’s not enough to know whether they work, so they shouldn’t be used as a replacement for the treatments prescribed by your doctor which have a lot of research behind them.

While herbal remedies are thought of as natural’ that does not guarantee that they are safe. If you do decide to take them as a supplement to your prescription medications, let your doctor and your herbalist know, and tell them about any other medicines you take. Some alternative medicines and herbs can interact with other medicines and be harmful.

Eating healthily and being active are both natural ways to lower your blood pressure which can make a big difference, alongside medications if you need them.

Does RESPeRATE work?

"RESPeRATE" is a small battery-powered device that uses musical sounds to help you slow down your breathing to lower your blood pressure. There is some evidence showing it can reduce blood pressure in the short term but how well it works in the long term is less well known.

RESPeRATE is considered a supplementary therapy by the NHS, which means your GP may be able to prescribe it for the price of a normal prescription. Because it is a supplementary therapy, it should be used alongside any other prescribed treatments but not as a replacement.

Do relaxation techniques, meditation and yoga lower blood pressure?

Although limited, there is some evidence that yoga and meditation could help to lower blood pressure. Yoga is a gentle form of exercise which can help keep you physically fit, helping to control your weight which is linked to high blood pressure and lowering your risk of heart disease.

The effects of meditation and yoga appear to be small and it’s not clear what effect they have in the long term, but they are safe and, along with other relaxation techniques such as mindfulness, they could help with your overall wellbeing. For example, helping with stress and depression. These techniques can be used alongside medications and lifestyle changes prescribed by your doctor, but shouldn’t be used as a replacement for them.

Why we are needed

High blood pressure is the leading cause of heart attack and stroke in the UK. More than 16 million people in the UK have high blood pressure. All our work is dedicated to lowering the UK's blood pressure for life. In this way we hope to spare many people unnecessary death or disability by helping them to avoid high blood pressure or to keep it under control.

The scale of the problem

  • High blood pressure is an important, but sometimes little recognised, risk factor for the development of stroke and heart disease. It is also factor in kidney disease and some types of dementia. It is responsible worldwide for half of all strokes and heart attacks (World Health Organisation study).

  • In the UK high blood pressure is a massive problem – an estimated 16 million people are affected. That’s one in three adults. As people get older, this proportion increases - around half of people over 50 will have or develop it.

  • Of those people with high blood pressure, one in three are unaware that they have it as it is almost always symptomless. The only way to detect high blood pressure is through a blood pressure check.

  • Historically, high blood pressure has been poorly identified and treated in the UK, although this is improving. This current situation means that many people have poor control of their blood pressure and, ultimately, 125,000 preventable strokes and heart attacks occur every year.

  • High blood pressure can be prevented and successfully treated. Many deaths that occur as a result of the effects of high blood pressure could be avoided with improved detection and management.

How we make a difference

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Our achievements

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

About our information

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Become a volunteer or intern

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.

Trustees

Lorem ipsum dolor sit amet, consectetur adipiscing elit, sed do eiusmod tempor incididunt ut labore et dolore magna aliqua. Ut enim ad minim veniam, quis nostrud exercitation ullamco laboris nisi ut aliquip ex ea commodo consequat.