There's a reason why a nurse or doctor checks your blood pressure every time you walk into their office: Nearly a third of all adults in the United States have hypertension, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention—and the risk climbs as you get older. Among adults 60 and older, 63 percent have high blood pressure.

High blood pressure can lead to heart troubles and other chronic health conditions. For years, scientists have known that hypertension is associated with a slightly increased breast cancer risk—women with high blood pressure have a 15 percent higher risk of breast cancer than women without high blood pressure—but no one was sure why. Now researchers at the University of Virginia School of Medicine in Charlottesville may have found the link.

According to a study published in the journal Hypertension, a protein called GRK4 may play a role in developing both high blood pressure and breast cancer. Researchers know that having high levels of this protein in your bloodstream may contribute to high blood pressure; the protein also happens to turn up in breast tissue.

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