Ask Dr. Bob: Why is Checking Blood Pressure Important?

Did you know that half of us have hypertension, or high blood pressure (BP), and that many of us probably don’t even know it? There are few early symptoms of hypertension, so you may only learn you have it when a health care professional takes your BP during a medical exam.

BP is the force that moves blood through your body. Increased pressure in your arteries is like increased water pressure in a pipe. Sooner or later, that pipe will blow out somewhere and cause problems. Just like pressure in the pipe, your high BP can cause serious, life-threatening conditions like a stroke, heart disease, kidney failure, or damage to many other organs.

What can you do to prevent hypertension? Your best defense is embracing a healthy lifestyle. Perform regular physical activity; eat more fruits and vegetables and limit fat, sugar, and salt; maintain a healthy weight; don’t smoke; and avoid or limit alcohol. If you have hypertension, there are many medications for treatment. Be sure to take your hypertension medications as directed if you provider prescribes them.

My basic message to you is this: get your blood pressure checked regularly. Your life could depend on it!

Good luck with your blood pressure!
Dr. Bob

Zufall founder Robert Zufall, M.D., is a retired urologist.

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