(WYTV) – High blood pressure is commonly known as a “silent killer” because it usually has no noticeable symptoms, making it vital to have annual checkups with your doctor.
If you have high blood pressure, you’re not alone. According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of all American adults have high blood pressure, but many don’t even know it.
“An increased blood pressure is anything above 120. So high blood pressure is 120 to 129 and then hypertension starts being defined above that number,” said Dr. Wahoub Hout.
Hout is a cardiologist with Mercy Health. He explains that high blood pressure is when the force of blood flowing through your blood vessels is consistently too high.
Most of the time, there are no obvious symptoms.
“If the blood pressure becomes high, significantly high, then there are a lot of symptoms a patient can feel — flushing, headaches, chest tightness, shortness of breath — and these are symptoms that are not necessarily related to organ damage, yet,” Hout said.
But when left untreated, the damage can put you at risk of heart attack, heart failure, stroke, kidney failure and other health issues.
“The most important thing that everybody should do is diet and exercise. Eating a healthy diet, exercising and losing weight is the first step in controlling any of the risk factors for heart disease, including hypertension,” Hout said.
Hout said sometimes even losing 5 pounds can significantly improve your blood pressure control. That’s why it’s so important that you see your doctor regularly and know your numbers.
“Even with blood pressure medication, if you do not modify your lifestyle, diet and exercise, it might prove very difficult to control,” Hout said.
The American Heart Association’s website is a great resource to help you learn more about high blood pressure.