Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a potentially fatal condition characterized by weakness of the heart muscle. One of the most common causes of CHF is high blood pressure, which increases tension on the heart muscle and makes the heart work harder to push blood through the arteries. When the heart beats, it pumps blood through the arteries. Doctors can measure the pumping pressures (blood pressure) needed to maintain blood flow in several different ways: by measuring “systolic pressure” (the highest pressure achieved in the arteries as the heart muscle contracts), “diastolic pressure” (the lowest pressure recorded in the arteries as the heart muscle relaxes), and “pulse pressure” (the difference between the systolic and diastolic pressures). Pulse pressure is a measure of stiffness of the arterial walls (or hardening of the arteries). Previous studies have shown that higher systolic and diastolic pressures increase the risk for developing CHF. Researchers have not yet determined whether pulse pressure is an important predictor of CHF in middle-aged people.