High blood pressure is often called the "silent killer.” It usually shows no symptoms, but does increase your risk for heart disease and stroke.
Doctors say it’s important to get your blood pressure regularly checked. Now, it's easier than ever to do that because there are all sorts of electronic home monitoring devices.
“More and more, we would like our patients to be monitoring their blood pressure at home because it's probably actually more accurate because they're not nervous or upset waiting on their doctor," Sanford Cardiologist Dr. Richard Clark said.
The problem is, how do you know a blood pressure monitor is accurate?
We decided to put a Withings SMART blood pressure monitor to the test. It uses an app on your iPhone, or iPad, to track your blood pressure. Then, we compared that reading to one using the traditional blood pressure cuff.
While Clark says electronic blood pressure monitoring is improving, he says you do need to make sure you're measuring it accurately.
"It's always best to try to check it around the same time each day," Clark said.
You should also make sure you're always using the same arm to measure your blood pressure and don't exercise right before taking a measurement.
"What we want to know is what you're resting blood pressure is because everything else makes it go up. If you get good news, bad news, any kind of a stressful situation, if you're sick or in pain," Clark said.
But no matter whether you measure your blood pressure the old-fashioned or the new electronic way, Clark says you should routinely check it.
"A lot of times high blood pressure isn't associated with any symptoms unless it gets very low or high," Clark said.
You can get your blood pressure checked for free at this weekend's Sanford Health and KELO-TV Health Fair. It's Friday and Saturday at the Empire Mall.