OKLAHOMA CITY (KFOR) – High blood pressure has been called the silent killer and can lead to several different health issues including strokes.

“One in five women will have a stroke and it is the third leading cause of death in women,” said Oklahoma cardiologist Dr. Aleicia Mack. “It’s the sixth leading cause of death right here in Oklahoma.”

Some jarring statistics on strokes from Dr. Mack.

“One person every 40 seconds in the US will die from a stroke,” she said.

The higher the blood pressure, the higher the chances of multiple health issues like strokes. For example, it can cause clots in the brain, make it more susceptible to bleeding, and even rupture blood vessels.

“If your blood pressure is just mildly elevated and you haven’t been diagnosed with hypertension, now’s the time to do something about it,” Mack said.

Mack said limiting sodium intake, eating a healthy diet, exercising, managing your weight and controlling tobacco use can help manage your blood pressure. Mack added that simply paying attention to warning signs and getting regular health check ups can save your life.

“Definitely don’t be afraid to talk to your doctor,” she said. “Engage in that conversation and know your goal blood pressure.”

Mack also described a way for people to recognize signs of, and be able to identify, a stroke and take action. She used the acronym, BE FAST. The “B” stands for balance issues and the “E” is for eyes. If you see someone having sudden balance issues or vision loss, they may be having a stroke. The “F” is for looking at facial asymmetry, you can have them smile and check that. The “A” is for arm weakness. You can have them hold their arms out and see if they’re able to hold them up or not. The “S” is for speech difficulties and the “T” is for timely because timeliness is key when calling for medical first responders so brain tissue can be protected in time.