What is your blood pressure?  Do you even know?  May is Blood Pressure Education Month and health officials both locally and nationally are urging you to get it checked.

A doctor speaks to a patient as a sphygmomanometer, or blood pressure meter, lies on his desk (Adam Berry/Getty Images)

It's one of the principal vital signs with a direct link to your heart and overall circulatory system.  But millions suffer from those numbers being too high, also known as hypertension.  Dr. Mary George, a medical officer with the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) says you should talk to your doctor, especially if you're overweight, smoke, drink or if one or more of your family members suffer from it.

Dr. George explains "a healthy, low sodium diet with plenty of exercise can definitely cut your risk.  We urge everyone to be up on this and not let this go.  This is especially important since you may feel totally fine and healthy but something might be brewing without your knowledge."

Hypertension has been known as the "silent killer" since most symptoms never show up until a heart attack or stroke happens.  There are various treatment options including medication to prevent problems and keep the numbers low.  Often times, your diet, lifestyle and even hereditary factors in.

Many local pharmacies offer free blood pressure testing and knowing your numbers could help to extend your life.

For more information, visit cdc.gov/Features/HighBloodPressure/