Take the Free Heart Health Quiz!

Heart health begins with you. Understanding your risks, early detection and treatment can increase the likelihood you’ll be able to live a longer, healthier life. Take the first step and complete a free heart health assessment to learn your risk for heart disease.

Health Risk Assessment

Your heart can't wait. Take our free heart health assessment to learn your risk for heart disease.


Is your lifestyle impacting your risk for heart disease? Take steps to make a change.

Take Your Blood Pressure at Home

Learn more about monitoring your blood pressure at home.

Stress affects blood pressure

Could your lifestyle be contributing to your high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, or hypertension, increases your risk of heart disease, heart attack and stroke. Many people do not know they have high blood pressure because it often has no symptoms or warning signs. Knowing your blood pressure numbers can help you understand your risk for heart disease and manage your blood pressure. Learn more about your risk for heart disease by taking our free heart health assessment.

Is my blood pressure good or bad?

A blood pressure reading includes two numbers and is read as “120 over 80,” for example. The first number is called the systolic pressure and the second number is the diastolic pressure. The systolic number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart squeezes or contracts, while the diastolic number measures the pressure between heartbeats.

Blood Pressure Category Systolic (Upper number Diastolic (lower number)
Normal Less than 120 and Less than 80
Elevated 120 - 129 and Less than 80
High - Stage 1 130 - 139 or 80 - 89
High - Stage 2 140 or Higher or 90 or Higher

What causes high blood pressure?

Nearly 50% of adults in the United States have high blood pressure. Several risk factors contribute to high blood pressure. Some risk factors, including gender, age and family history, are uncontrollable while other risk factors can be modified with lifestyle changes.

Lifestyle changes can significantly reduce your blood pressure and lower your risk for heart disease. Incorporate heart-healthy habits by making these changes in your daily life.

  • Regularly Monitor Blood Pressure: High blood pressure is a major risk factor for heart disease and stroke. Regularly monitor your blood pressure, whether at the doctor’s office or at home. Click here for tips on how to properly manage your blood pressure at home.
  • Manage Weight: Being overweight or obese increases your risk of developing high blood pressure. Losing unhealthy weight is one of the most effective lifestyle changes to reduce your blood pressure and improve your heart function and metabolism.
  • Get Active: Less than 30 minutes per day of physical activity can lower your blood pressure. And physical activity doesn’t have to be traditional exercise. Find an activity you enjoy — like dancing, hiking or swimming.
  • Eat a Heart-Healthy Diet: Essential in preventing heart disease, a heart-healthy diet can lower your blood pressure if you have hypertension. Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables, foods rich in lean protein such as chicken and plant-based proteins as well as fish, and limit daily intake of salts, sugars, red meat and fatty foods.
  • Limit Your Alcohol Consumption: Drinking more than moderate amounts of alcohol can increase your blood pressure and reduce the effectiveness of blood pressure medications. Limiting your alcohol consumption to two drinks a day for men and one for women can lower your blood pressure.
  • Stop Smoking: Smoking can increase your heart rate and blood pressure to dangerously high levels. Quitting helps your blood pressure return to normal.
  • Reduce Stress: Managing stress is a part of daily life. Ongoing stress can contribute to high blood pressure if you react by drinking, smoking or eating unhealthy food. Reduce your stress by identifying what factors are causing the stress. Then, take steps to manage the stress more effectively in a healthier way by limiting alcohol, incorporating physical activity and prioritizing time to relax.

What should I do if my blood pressure reading is high?

Prioritizing your heart health can be challenging, but BJC HealthCare is here to help. Call 866.206.2153 to schedule an appointment today with one of our primary care providers or heart specialists.

Call 911 immediately if you are experiencing chest pain, shortness of breath, numbness, fatigue or a change in vision and your blood pressure is 180/120 or higher.

Heart Disease in Women

Throw a load of laundry in the washer, oversee virtual learning for your kids, prepare for a 10am conference call, plan dinner for your family, all while your mind is racing through the many other things that need to get done. Does this sound familiar?

Heart disease in women

Women wear many hats and often coordinate the details of their family’s daily life, leaving little time to prioritize their own health. If you are sick or unhealthy, you cannot effectively manage your typical responsibilities. More importantly, you may also be leaving a more serious condition untreated.

Many women don’t show signs of heart disease until they suffer an ermergency such as a heart attack. Heart disease and stroke among women cause more deaths than all cancers combined.*

Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of death for women in the United States, causing one in three deaths each year. Understanding early signs of a heart attack is important. Studies show that only 40% of women having a heart attack actually realized they were.

Women and men often experience symptoms differently. Women are more likely than men to experience symptoms like shortness of breath, nausea / vomiting and back or jaw pain. Although some women may have no symptoms, others may experience:

  • Shortness of breath
  • Nausea / vomiting
  • Back or jaw pain
  • Cold sweat
  • Dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting
  • Extreme, unexplained fatigue
  • Heartburn, indigestion or belly pain

Understanding risk factors and lifestyle choices are important for assessing your risk for heart disease. The more risk factors you have, the more likely you are to develop heart disease. Nearly half of people in the United States have at least one of three key risk factors: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and smoking. Some risk factors like gender, age and family history are uncontrollable, while others can be managed by lifestyle changes, medicines or both. Controllable risk factors include:

  • Diabetes
  • Smoking
  • Healthy weight and diet
  • Physical activity

To learn more about simple steps to lower your risk of heart disease, visit.

*Source: American Heart Association


Your heart is one of the most important organs in your body. Approximately the size of your closed fist, your heart serves as the hub of the circulatory system that pumps blood to all parts of your body. Watch this brief video to learn more about how your heart works.