Keeping Tabs on Your Blood Pressure

Published 05/14 2014 11:08AM

Updated 05/14 2014 11:22AM

May is National High Blood Pressure Education Month. High blood pressure is known by doctors and patients as the "silent killer."

Your blood pressure is a measure of the force inside the arteries with each heartbeat. It's monitored by two numbers: the top number, or systolic blood pressure, represents the pressure need to push the blood out to the body. The bottom number, or the diastolic blood pressure, is the amount of pressure inside your arteries when your heart is at rest.

Gorge Thomas from the Cleveland Clinic says if your blood pressure is high, you are at an increased risk for heart attack, stroke, or kidney disease. Thomas also says the most dangerous things about hypertension is that many don't know they have it until it's too late. "You may not notice any symptoms initially, so you may ignore it. You may not notice until your organs get damaged or you have a heart attack or a stroke, or you have kidney problems," says Dr. Thomas

Thomas also says exercise, a diet low in sodium, and an ideal body weight will help you to keep your blood pressure under control.

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