CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Emergency room doctor David Rentz sees it every day -- victims of heart attack and stroke wheeled in needing treatment. He knows high blood pressure is a leading cause. According to Novant Health, about 30 percent of the people in Charlotte have high blood pressure. Too often victims have no idea.
"The longer you have high blood pressure, it tends to wear down your body. It's wear and tear on your body and all the organs. Primarily the ones that it affects are your brain, when it leads to strokes, heart, it wears on your heart. That is a muscle that pumps the blood, and can lead to early coronary heart disease and heart failure, as well as kidney disease. Kidney failure and can damage the eye as well."
High blood pressure is referred to as the "silent killer" in the medical community because a person can feel great and have it. Also, Dr. Rentz points out that a person can do all the right things like eating healthy, maintaining a good weight and still have high blood pressure.
At Freedom Park in Charlotte's Dilworth neighborhood, Paul Price and his wife are trying to beat the heat with an early morning walk. Price has battled high blood pressure for years and is a diabetic. When he and his wife walk, they feel better throughout the day. He feels lucky that he knows about his blood pressure and has the chance to do something about it.
"Some people don't even know they have it. Walking time bombs, you know!" Price said.
His wife Jaclyn Price needs her husband around for the best things in life.
"I'd like to see my grandkids, kids. I really would." Jaclyn Price said.
Blood pressure can be checked at a doctor's office for sure, but there are many, many places that can check it. The Red Cross at-home kits, inside pharmacies, are some of the places blood pressure can be checked.
Dr. David Rentz hopes that more people will take steps to bring their high blood pressure down before it's too late.
"We think about strokes, we think about heart attacks, we think about kidney failure, and we see people come in with that on a daily basis, multiple times. People with uncontrolled high blood pressure, when it's uncontrolled, you'll end up in the emergency department," Dr. Rentz said.