ST. CLOUD -- It's not something we normally think about, but our blood pressure plays a significant role in our health.

May is National Blood Pressure Month.

Michelle Thompson is a Certified Adult and Geriatric Nurse Practitioner at CentraCare Health. She says if our blood pressure is high or low it can have serious affects on our organs.

"Your blood pressure can affect your heart, brain, kidneys, and eyes, and if not monitored can do damage to these organs," says Thompson.

There are many things that can affect our blood pressure such as stress, weight, and diet. Thompson says a normal blood pressure reading is around 120 over 80.

"So we measure blood pressure by two numbers. The first number we call the Systolic pressure and the second Diastolic," says Thompson.

You can get your blood pressure reading in many ways. Seeing a doctor, buying a home test kit, or going to your local drug store and getting a free test with their blood pressure machines.

Todd Nelson is the Pharmacy Manager at Coborn's Pharmacy on Cooper Avenue. He says the tests are just as accurate as going to the doctor.

"As long as the machines are being checked on a regular basis, they can be as accurate as the manual tests," says Nelson.

Nelson says baggy clothes, not positioning your arm correctly, or moving can affect the results of the tests.

Thompson says the number for each person will never stay the same.  Unless you have multiple days of high blood pressure, you don't have to be concerned.


WJON Reporter Alex Svejkovsky, gets his blood pressure taken during National Blood Pressure Month. (Photo: WJON News)