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Blood pressure: Take control of the silent killer

High blood pressure, or hypertension, is sometimes called the silent killer because there are often no symptoms.

That’s why keeping track of blood pressure is one of the most important things a person can do to stay healthy, said doctors at Baylor College of Medicine.

Left untreated, hypertension can cause organ damage over time, leading to heart attack, blindness, kidney failure or stroke, said Dr. Biykem Bozkurt, professor of medicine at Baylor.

Some factors that are associated with hypertension are diabetes, family history of hypertension, being overweight, taking in too much sodium, drinking excessive alcohol and smoking.

Generally, a healthy reading is 120/80, and hypertension diagnosis is made at 140/90. People considered pre-hypertensive generally have readings that fall between 120/80 and 140/90.

Doctors always check blood pressure as part of appointments and there are also many locations where blood pressure machines are available for anyone to have their pressure checked.

Bozkurt advises talking to a doctor to determine if your reading is at a healthy level rather than taking the machine’s reading at face value.

“For a relatively healthy person not suffering from any other illnesses, only a few lifestyle changes like diet modifications and exercise may be needed,” said Bozkurt.

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