To the Editor:

Texas women are caring and hard-working, often putting themselves aside for their loved ones. While generous, it means many of them end up neglecting their health, and that can have serious consequences for themselves and their families.

This is especially true when it comes to heart health. High blood pressure or hypertension is a major risk factor for heart disease and strokes.

According to the United Health Foundation, about 28 percent of women in Texas have high blood pressure. Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for all Texans, per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Maintaining a healthy heart is critical to a woman’s overall health, as well as a key contributor to healthy pregnancies and births.

This is why it’s important to make time for annual checkups and blood pressure screenings.

Talking to a health care provider about potential risks is the first step to taking charge of one’s heart health.

The Healthy Texas Women Program provides eligible women with free or low-cost screenings and treatments for high blood pressure, as well as other conditions like high cholesterol and diabetes.

To check eligibility or find a health care provider, go to www.HealthyTexasWomen.org.

Viveca Martinez

Deputy associate commissioner

Family and Social Services

Texas Health and Human Services

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