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Discovering high blood pressure (hypertension)
Q. I've now been told I have high blood pressure, what does this mean?
A. If your doctor tells you that you have high blood pressure, then your blood pressure has been found to be consistently 140/90mmHg or more. For more about blood pressure readings, please see What blood pressure should I have?
This increased pressure puts extra strain on the parts of your body where your blood flows: in other words on your arteries (blood vessels) and your body's major organs - your heart, your kidneys and your brain. This extra strain can increase your risks of developing health problems in the future - for example heart attacks, kidney disease, strokes and dementia.
The good news is that these problems do not develop overnight. Instead they are normally the result of damage that has occurred over a long period of time due to high blood pressure being left untreated over many years. So, the sooner you can lower your blood pressure and the longer you can keep it under control, the better. You will be putting less strain on your arteries and major organs and this will lower your risk of developing any of the health problems mentioned above.
The main ways of keeping your blood pressure under control are: