Knowing your blood pressure numbers - KTIV News 4 Sioux City IA: News, Weather and Sports

Knowing your blood pressure numbers

120 over 80, that's good... but 140 over 90.. not so much. I'm talking about your blood pressure. All those numbers can be confusing, so why is it important and what does your blood pressure mean?

"We often call it, 'The Silent Killer," said Dr. Eric Green. Dr. Eric Green is talking about an incredibly common disease, high blood pressure. It's a leading cause of stroke, heart attack and kidney failure. "Most people who have elevated blood pressure don't feel anything until it's really high or it starts to cause bad complications," said Dr. Green.

A blood pressure reading appears as two numbers. The first, which is the higher number, is the systolic pressure. That's the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills them with blood. The second number, or diastolic pressure, is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. A pressure of less than 120 over less than 80 is considered normal. "If we get blood pressure under control early we can reduce or even stop all the complications that come with long term untreated high blood pressure," said Dr. Green.

Because most people who have high blood pressure have no symptoms, it's important to get checked. The have machines at grocery stores and other businesses. Or schedule an appointment to talk to your doctor. The earlier you're treated for high blood pressure, the more likely you are to keep yourself from developing those devastating complications like stroke, heart attack and kidney failure.

 Healthbeat 4 Reporter: Christy Batien

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