Know Your Numbers and Protect Against Heart Disease: The Silent Killer

According to the American Heart Association, nearly half of American adults suffer from high blood pressure and many don’t even know they have it. Often presenting without symptoms, uncontrolled high blood pressure can lead to a number of serious health problems such as heart attack or stroke.

“It’s called the silent killer for a reason,” said CHI St. Vincent cardiologist Dr. Doug Borg. “You simply won’t feel it. If you don’t know your numbers, you don’t know what you have.”

Limiting the risks for heart disease and other complications means knowing your numbers and routinely checking your blood pressure at home or your local pharmacy instead of waiting for your next visit with a cardiologist or primary care physician.

“If you’re not checking at home and we’re going only by what we get here at the office, we’re driving with our eyes closed,” Dr. Borg said.

A blood pressure reading is given in two numbers, with the top number representing systolic pressure and the bottom number representing diastolic pressure. Ideally, the top number should be 120-135 and the bottom number should be 70-75. If your numbers are greater than 140 over 90, you should be treated by a doctor and will likely need medication.

“If their heart is working overtime, having to push against all that pressure, they begin to feel it,” said Dr. Borg. “It’s fatigue, shortness of breath, something that just doesn’t feel right.”

High blood pressure is a silent killer, but nearly 80-percent of cardiac events can be prevented with early detection and proper care. Take responsibility for your heart health so you can keep providing and caring for those around you. Learn more at: