Hypertension, also known as high blood pressure, is one of the most common medical disorders and major public health problems in the United States. According to CDC, approximately 68 million American adults, or one in three, are affected with hypertension.¹ The American Society of Hypertension has determined that hypertension is not a single disease, but most often encompasses other conditions such as obesity, diabetes, and an increase in the risk of heart disease and stroke. Despite these alarming statistics, hypertension can be prevented, treated and controlled with exercise and lifestyle modifications being a recommended approach.
Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood against arterial walls during circulation throughout the body. This pressure is a necessary function to the human body, but can lead to severe health problems when becoming too high. In an adult, high blood pressure is defined as a systolic blood pressure ("top number") of 140 mm Hg or greater and a diastolic blood pressure ("bottom number") of 90 mm Hg or greater. Systolic blood pressure is a measure of the force applied on the artery walls when the heart is contracting. Diastolic blood pressure is the force applied on the artery walls when the heart is relaxed or in between beats. Blood pressure is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).