According to the Heart Foundation, more than four million Australians are walking around with a “ticking time-bomb”. They either don’t know their blood pressure is dangerously high or unaware their treatment isn’t working well enough.

That means about a quarter of us are at risk of a heart attack or stroke and don’t even realise it. It’s why, this year, the charity is using Heart Week to highlight the importance of diagnosing and treating high blood pressure.

Heart week is a great week to shine the spotlight on Australians health and educate them on the importance of looking after their heart. If you would like to be involved with Heart week head to the Heart Foundation website and check out the great resources they have available.

“Not only is high blood pressure the biggest risk factor for Australia’s greatest killers – heart attack and stroke – but it causes other serious illnesses like dementia and kidney disease,” Heart Foundation CEO John Kelly said.

“In fact, in Australia, more deaths can be put down to high blood pressure than to any other single risk factor.”

The Heart Foundation estimates nearly six million – more than a third of Australian adults – have high blood pressure and among those who are taking medication for it, one in four (or 1.4 million) still have it.

The “silent killer”

Mr Kelly, who’s also a university professor, says almost half of heart disease deaths are caused by high blood pressure.

“We call high blood pressure the silent killer because there are no obvious signs or symptoms. Too many Australians are putting themselves at risk of a heart attack by not keeping it under control,” he said.

According to healthdirect, most people with high blood pressure have no symptoms, and may feel “quite well”.

“This is why it’s important to see your doctor and have your blood pressure checked regularly, especially if you have one or more of the risk factors,” it published.

“A few people with very high blood pressure may experience headache, dizziness or the sudden effects of diseases of the arteries such as chest pain or stroke.

“Blood pressure is important because if it is too high, it affects the blood flow to your organs.”

Over the years, not only does this increase your chances of developing heart disease and stroke but kidney failure, diabetes, eye disease, erectile dysfunction and other conditions too.

Risk factors

There are a number of known risk factors for developing high blood pressure, according to healthdirect, including:

  •  Leading a lifestyle where you’re sitting a lot (with little or no exercise)
  •  Smoking
  •  Being overweight
  •  Eating a diet that’s high in salt
  •  Having high blood cholesterol
  •  Having a family history of high blood pressure
  •  Drinking a lot of alcohol.

How to get checked


All you have to do is book an appointment with your doctor or specialist and ask for your blood pressure to be checked. If you see a GP regularly it might already be part of your check up routine.

To measure your blood pressure they will usually place an inflatable cuff around your arm. They will measure your blood pressure using a pressure-measuring gauge. Sound familiar?

Your doctor might take two to three blood pressure readings at separate appointments before diagnosing you with high blood pressure. This is because blood pressure normally varies throughout the day.

House Call Doctor has written about heart disease and related illnesses before. Take a look at these articles for more information on the topic:

If it’s after hours and you can’t see your usual GP, House Call Doctor can help. Our qualified doctors are available to treat you at home. Our hours are from 6pm to 8am Monday to Friday, from 12pm on Saturday and all day Sunday. Bookings can be made in advance online, via the free mobile app or by calling 13 55 66. Visit the Consulting Hours section of our website for more information.