Should You Get Your Blood Pressure Checked?

High blood pressure generally has no symptoms but can lead to serious health problems if left unchecked

Credit: Flickr/assbach

See your doctor if you suspect high blood pressure to avoid serious health problems

High blood pressure, if left untreated, can increase your risk of having a heart attack, stroke, kidney failure and even blindness

Having your blood pressure checked by your doctor at least once a year is an important part of a proactive health regimen. If there are changes or other conditions, a more frequent reading may be required.

What the Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

A normal blood pressure reading is 120/80.

The first number (systolic) measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart is pumping. The second number (diastolic) measures the pressure in your arteries between beats, or the resistance or lack of compliance in the artery wall.

Is Your Blood Pressure High or Low?

While 120/80 is considered normal for healthy individuals, this may not be the case for people with certain diseases or medical conditions, for whom an even lower blood pressure reading is desired.

In general, a blood pressure of 140/90 or more is considered too high, putting you at increased risk for heart disease or stroke. High blood pressure generally has no symptoms and, if left unchecked and untreated, can lead to heart, kidney and cerebral vascular diseases.

That’s why it’s important that you know your blood pressure, and if it’s high, take action now.

Originally published in Wellness Matters, Canada Wide Media’s quarterly newsletter on health and wellness.