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TedClarkPosted by Ted Clark

Ted is the Communications Director for the Heart Disease and Stroke Program

 

Do you know your blood pressure (BP) numbers?

Most people don’t, and I didn’t know mine till recently. So what’s the big deal? As long as you feel healthy, there’s no reason for concern, right? Wrong.Blood-pressure

High blood pressure is known as “the silent killer,” and with good reason — there are usually no symptoms. Fact is, about one-third of American adults have high blood pressure and don’t know it. When people don’t know they have high blood pressure, it means they aren’t taking the medicine that could drastically reduce their risk for heart disease, a heart attack or stroke. In fact, 70 percent of people who have a stroke also have high blood pressure.

So, how do you find out your BP numbers? You have three easy options:

  • At your next doctor’s appointment, make sure the nurse or doctor takes your blood pressure.
  • Call your local community health center, or city hall to see when the next public BP screening takes place.
  • Find a local pharmacy with a blood pressure kiosk

If your blood pressure is “normal,” that’s great. Just keep an eye on it, and ask your doctor how often you should have it measured.

If you have high blood pressure, it’s not the end of the world. Your doctor can prescribe medicine that will help lower your blood pressure, and you can do your part, too. Visit Mass in Motion for tips on eating better and moving more. 

A third category of BP is “elevated,” and falls between “normal” and “high.” Also known as “pre-hypertension,” an elevated reading means you are in danger of your blood pressure becoming high. Eating better and moving more may help you lower your blood pressure.

Make sure your healthcare provider knows your BP results, in case he or she wants to prescribe medicine that may lower your blood pressure. 

Check out the MA Department of Public Health’s two new blood pressure brochures and videos on getting checked and taking your medicine. Learn more about high blood pressure and stroke at www.mass.gov/heartstroke.

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