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Under Pressure: Hypertension and Women's Heart Health

Hypertension — commonly known as "high blood pressure" — is a significant risk factor for heart disease in women. When your blood pressure is too high, your heart has to work harder to pump blood through your body. Over time, arteries weaken or become hard (atherosclerosis) and are unable to supply blood to tissue and organs. This added workload may also result in thickening of the heart muscle, and ultimately, heart failure.

Blood pressure is measured and recorded as two numbers. The systolic (top number) is the amount of pressure (in millimeters of mercury, or mmHg) in your arteries as the heart contracts and pushes blood out. The diastolic (bottom number) is the amount of pressure in your arteries as the heart rests and fills with blood. High blood pressure is generally defined as consistently above 130/80 mmHg.

Unfortunately, hypertension often has no symptoms. The only way to know if you have it is to get tested. Fortunately, that's easy to do. We'll test yours for no charge at the Karen Yontz Center. If it turns out it's too high, we'll help you make a plan to get it under control — and reduce your risk of heart disease.

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