Hypertension, more commonly known as high blood pressure, affects one in three adults in America, the majority of who are aged 65 years or over. Hypertension is defined by the consistent measurement of a systolic blood pressure exceeding 140 mmHg and/or a diastolic blood pressure exceeding 90 mmHg. The systolic blood pressure refers to the pressure in the arteries during a heart beat and the diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries in between heart beats.
It is normal for individuals to experience high blood pressure during exertion. However, if a person’s blood pressure is consistently high, they are at an increased risk of stroke and heart disease, two leading causes of mortality in America. Hypertension often goes unnoticed, as no apparent outward symptoms are associated with the disease. The condition is commonly diagnosed in the physician’s office when a physician measures a patient’s blood pressure with a sphygmomanometer during a routine medical examination.