Saturday is World Hypertension Day, a day to raise awareness about high blood pressure. It’s the leading cause of heart attack and stroke, according to the American Heart Association (AHA).
More than 100 million adults in the U.S. are dealing with high blood pressure, according to the AHA. An estimated 75% don’t have it under control.
“It is a disease that is quote silent,” said Dr. Willie Lawrence, the chief of cardiology at the Research Medical Center in Kansas City, Missouri. “The point at which you develop symptoms or complications of hypertension means that it's too late.”
To manage your blood pressure, doctors say maintain a healthy weight, eat healthy, take medications as prescribed, reduce salt, and quit smoking. It’s also recommended to be active and get at least 150 minutes of activity per week and to limit alcohol to keep your blood pressure under control.
“Hypertension is something that occurs more frequently in Black Americans then other Americans, more frequently in Hispanic Americans,” said Lawrence.
Lyman King takes his heart health seriously. The 45-year-old has been managing hypertension since his 30s.
“My mom actually passed from a heart attack. My dad actually had a triple bypass. So it's on both sides of my family, but I try to stay really healthy and regular exercise,” said King.
Patients can also take their blood pressure at home, something King has been doing more often since having COVID-19. High blood pressure patients have a higher risk of complications.
“I saw some increased numbers and with the same lifestyle. Now I will say, because of my diagnosis of COVID, I think I had everything - every symptom that was with the exception of shortness of breath,” said King.
King always remembers something his father said to him after his heart attack.
“He said, had he medicated earlier, it would have prevented it from happening. From that point on, it just kind of sent like a jolt in me. You only get one life. That's it,” said King.
He wants others to know that living healthy and taking your medication can save your life.