BUFFALO, N.Y. (WIVB) - A new report says millions of Americans have high blood pressure and don't even know it, putting them at greater risk of suffering a heart attack or stroke.
Do you know your blood pressure? The top number should be under 140, and the bottom number should be under 90. A new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that about 70 million Americans have blood pressure higher than that. That puts them at higher risk for having a heart attack, a stroke, and other problems. That happened to Maryann Smith's father.
"He did have high blood pressure and was not taking his medication and had a stroke," she said.
Medications can lower blood pressure and prevent those catastrophes, but more than half of the people with hypertension don't have their pressure under control. For 14 million of them, that's because they aren't aware of their high blood pressure. The rest are not receiving - or not taking - proper treatment.
Smith developed high blood pressure, and she takes her medicine.
She said, "After witnessing what happened to my father and witnessing his experience with a stroke, I absolutely take that medication."
And her doctor made other useful recommendations, such as, "Exercise, limiting my salt intake, limiting my alcohol intake and trying to live a stress-free life, which is impossible!"
But it's worth trying. If you reduce high blood pressure, you'll also reduce your risk of a heart attack or stroke. But you have to know your blood pressure and keep track of it. Without testing, there is no way to know if you have high blood pressure or not.
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