Blood pressure is a measure of the force that the blood exerts against vessel walls.
Measuring blood pressure is important before starting an exercise program. Since high blood pressure, or hypertension, is one of the alterable risk factors for heart disease, and since an estimated one in four Americans has borderline or high blood pressure, routine measuring of blood pressure is essential.
Causes of High Blood Pressure
Hypertension or high blood pressure is a condition in which an individual has a higher resting blood pressure than normal.
Hypertension is associated with a variety of factors such as:
- High blood lipid levels
- Lack of physical activity
- Heredity factors
- Excessive stress
- Excessive sodium in diet
- Category: Measuring Blood Pressure
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ACSM defines diagnosed hypertension as systolic blood pressure greater than 140, and/or diastolic blood pressure greater than 90 mm Hg, on at least two separate occasions, or if the individual is on high blood pressure medication.
The top number, or higher value, is referred to as the systolic pressure, or the amount of pressure of force exerted against the arterial walls immediately after the heart has contracted.
The bottom number or diastolic pressure, may be thought of as the "run off" force, or the amount of pressure still remaining against the arterial walls as the heart relaxes before the next contraction.