LITTLE ROCK, Ark. — It’s called the silent killer — so named because thousands of Arkansans are not aware they're falling victim to it until it's too late. But what is it?
The CHI St. Vincent Heart Clinic represents heart specialists nationwide who have another name for heart month: Know your numbers month, your blood pressure.
“Knowing your numbers means you're going to better evaluate and monitor your cardiac risk.” Dr. Borg said.
Cardiologist Dr. Doug Borg knows all too well the tragic consequences if you don't pay attention.
“It's called the silent killer for a reason,” Dr. Borg said, “because you simply won't feel it, so if you don't know your numbers, you don't know what you have.”
And the numbers can tell you if you're developing a problem.
“This is what happens as things become more advanced,” Dr. Borg said. “You have less flow, less area for the blood to get through, and then the tissues behind it are starving for oxygen.”
Dr. Borg said your top number should be 120 to 135 and the bottom 70 to 75.
"I'd recommend you check it twice a month,” Dr. Borg said.
To help, there are home units available or even checks made at local pharmacies. Don't wait for a doctor's office to tell you.
“And if you're not checking at home and we're going only by what we get here at the office, we're diving with our eyes closed,” Dr. Borg said.
Know your numbers. Don't wait for your heart to send you a message.
“If their heart is working overtime, having to push against all that pressure, they begin to feel it,” Dr. Borg said. You know it's just fatigue, shortness of breath, something that just doesn't feel right.”
It is the most important muscle in the body and protecting it is so simple: Know you numbers.
“You know this is an old adage, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure and with heart and vascular disease that is never more true,” Dr. Borg said.
Arkansas has the 6th highest death rate from cardiovascular disease in the country according to the American Heart Association.
Here's some things to watch out for: A few risk factors include tobacco use, poor diet, lack of physical exercise and diabetes.