GOOD MORNING DELMARVA - The American Heart Association calls it the "silent killer" — a symptomless condition that can damage your arteries, heart and other organs. It's high blood pressure, and more than 76 million Americans have already been diagnosed with the condition.
High blood pressure, also known as hypertension, can cause an increased risk of blood clots, weakness and scarring in blood vessels, increased plaque buildup within arteries, and tissue and organ damage.
So what is blood pressure? BP is the result of two forces, says the American Heart Association: the first occurs as blood pumps out of the heart and into the arteries that are part of the circulatory system. The second force is created as the heart rests between heart beats.
Over time, if the force of the blood flow is often high, the tissue that makes up the walls of arteries gets stretched beyond its healthy limit, so the heart pumps harder to get blood into the arteries. This increased work can eventually result in damage to the heart itself.
Family history, advanced age, lower activity levels and a poor diet can all contribute to high blood pressure, and since there are rarely any symptoms, getting your blood pressure checked is vital.
As part of heart Month, Peninsula Regional Medical Center staffers will offer a free blood pressure check on Saturday, February 23 from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. at Macy's at the Centre at Salisbury. Take advantage of this free screening and help keep your heart healthy.