Check Your Health: Importance of measuring your blood pressure

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Importance of measuring your blood pressure (Photo: KUTV)

(KUTV) High blood pressure, specifically hypertension, is known as the “silent killer.” This is because many people don’t know they have it – until it is sometimes too late.

Even though you may not have signs or symptoms from having high blood pressure, Dr. Yuri Khodakov, a cardiologist at Intermountain McKay-Dee Hospital said he cannot overstate how big of a problem it can be.

“You want to consider high blood pressure not as a disease but a risk factor,” Khodakov said.

Having high blood pressure increases your risk of not only experiencing a heart attack or stroke, but is also a risk factor for atrial fibrillation, heart failure, and kidney issues – just to name a few.

“We know that most people in this country still die from cardiovascular disease and hypertension is one of the most important risk factors for that. So you don’t want to become statistics,” Khodakov said.

In order to treat high blood pressure, you first have to know your numbers. You want to avoid taking your blood pressure if you are stressed, sick, or have had caffeine in the last 30 minutes. If you measure during one of these times, you are likely to get an inaccurate measurement.

When measuring blood pressure, there are a few things you should do to ensure an accurate reading:

  • Make sure your arm is at the same level as your heart
  • Make sure the size of the cuff matches up with the size of your arm
  • Always measure on bare skin
  • Measure more than once

If the average of three measurements shows a number higher than 120/80, it’s time to take action.

“You start with seeing a doc. You start with looking at your aerobic exercise regimen and your weight. If you’re truly high, if you’re running really high numbers, you need to be on medication,” Khodakov said.

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