High blood pressure is one of the biggest risk factors for stroke. It is a contributing factor in around half of all strokes.
What is it?
Blood pressure is the measure of how strongly your blood presses against the walls of your arteries when it is pumped around your body. High blood pressure (also known as hypertension) develops when this pressure is consistently too high.
Why does it increase your risk of stroke?
High blood pressure puts a strain on all the blood vessels in your body, including the ones leading to your brain. This makes a blockage more likely to develop or a blood vessel in the brain to weaken and bleed, both of which could cause a stroke.
How do I know if I have high blood pressure?
High blood pressure does not have any symptoms so the only way to know if you have it is to have your blood pressure measured regularly. This can be done by your GP or nurse. You can also check it yourself with a home testing kit.
What can I do if I have it?
Most people with high blood pressure will need to take medication to reduce it. But making changes to your lifestyle will also help to bring it down.
The medication you take will be tailored to your individual needs. Most people need to take more than one medication to control their blood pressure, and you may need to try several different types before you find the ones that suit you best.
Find out more
There’s lots more information in our High blood pressure and stroke leaflet.