Today marks the first day of American Heart Month. This year, Lexington Medical Center is focusing on high blood pressure. At least one in three South Carolinians has high blood pressure - and some don't even know. In this WLTX interview, physician assistant Brittany Chestnut of Sandhills Family Medicine, a Lexington Medical Center physician practice, talks about why knowing your blood pressure numbers is so important.
~Systolic is the top number of your blood pressure reading. That refers to the amount of pressure pushed against the arteries when the heart is pushing out blood during a heartbeat.
~Diastolic is the bottom number that measures pressure between heartbeats.
~Ideal blood pressure is under 120/80.
~It's important for patients to monitor their blood pressure at home with an accurate cuff, decrease sodium and caffeine intake, exercise and maintain a healthy weight.
~In the long-term, high blood pressure causes arteries to become rigid and damaged. Over time, that impacts every artery and vessel in the body, which can impact every organ system.
~High blood pressure complications can include heart attacks, strokes, vision loss and even sexual dysfunction.
To take a high blood pressure quiz, visit LexMed.com/Know.