Toddy Worthen says she had quite a scare when she had a mini-stroke in April.
"I couldn't say what I wanted to say, even though I was thinking it, I couldn't say it. Nothing came out the way I wanted it to come out," she said.
Worthen and others were getting their blood pressure checked at the Rutland Area Visiting Nurse Association and Hospice blood pressure and foot care clinic in Fair Haven, a practice medical professionals say is essential to good health.
"It is just a good, simple indicator of what may be going on in our body," said Linda Bemis of RAVNAH.
A new study published in the American Heart Journal says being in the healthy range for blood pressure readings is even more important. Borderline high blood pressure has been tied to deaths in some people. The study analyzed more than 1 million men and women and researchers calculated that 15 percent of deaths from stroke and 11 percent of heart disease would have been eliminated is hypertension was eliminated.
Checking your blood pressure is something that should be done at any age. There are even self-monitoring devices and your grocery store or pharmacy may have blood pressure clinics.
"It's not just one thing or another, there's many things that can enter into it. The more conscious you are of it, it's just a good time to start," Bemis said.
Medical professionals say it is important to check often, as sometimes stress can change your blood pressure and it might not be an accurate reading. Even going to the doctor's office can cause anxiety called "white coat syndrome."
"It just automatically starts to go up, just because of the situation, the anticipation, and the anxiety," Bemis said.
Those who get regular checkups say going often makes it less scary.
"If you have your blood pressure done frequently, you kind of know how it's gonna run anyhow," said Jeanette Morren, who was getting her blood pressure checked.
Keeping tabs on this important health indicator can prevent more serious health problems at any age.
"If it had been a full-fledged stroke I might have lost the use of my arms or my legs," Worthen said.
Pre-hypertension is defined as having blood pressure between 120 and 139 over 80 to 89.
Although that study said pre-hypertension needs to be treated, they do not recommend taking medication at that stage. Instead, they recommend increasing exercise and improving diet.
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