by Tara Thomas
WATERLOO (KWWL) -- High blood pressure is called the silent killer. It precedes the vast majority of hearts attacks and strokes.
Ken Bru admits life on the farm can be stressful, but when the Gladbrook farmer tragically lost his wife of 30 years from brain cancer, that's when he really suffered emotionally and physically.
"She did all the cooking, and I had to learn how to cook and do all that," Bru said.
The 54-year-old found out a year later he had high blood pressure, perhaps brought on by all his stresses. And like Ken, the reportedly one in three americans who has it, aren't aware.
"People can live for years and have high blood pressure and not even know it," Greg Randolph of Covenant Clinic said. "There are really no signs and symptoms of hypertension."
Randolph says there are risk factors, like smoking or family history, but the key is to get your blood pressure checked.
"Normal blood pressure we say is less than 120 over 80," said Randolph. "There are a lot of providers recommending people have an optimal blood pressure of 115 over 75."
Now Bru takes medication to keep manage his blood pressure. His advice for others: get a baseline with your doctor to know were you're at. He also keeps the salt off his dinner table.
Online Reporter: Tara Thomas