Study: One in six Americans with high blood pressure don't know they have it

Dr. Chip Hetzler / Danielle Apolinar (WGXA)

MACON, Ga. -- About 85 million Americans have high blood pressure, according to the American Heart Association. And one in six Americans who have high blood pressure don't even know it.

Dr. Chip Hetzler with Coliseum Medical Centers says high blood pressure is often called "the silent killer" because there are generally no symptoms.

He said it's vital to check for high blood pressure, especially if there is a family history of it. He also encourages people to get it under control before it leads to more medical issues.

"The problem with high blood pressure is it can affect almost any system in your body," Hetzler said. "It's one of the leading causes of stroke, a big contributor to heart disease and cardiovascular disease. And it's a big contributor to kidney disease, which is a big problem here in Middle Georgia."

He said some ways you can bring your blood pressure down include medications, exercise and healthy eating and he encouraged smokers to quit because this can lead to higher blood pressure.

Hetzler said the magic numbers indicating high blood pressure are 140 over 90 and anything above that.

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