Blood pressure is a measure of the force of blood against the walls of your arteries. Blood pressure readings include two numbers, such as 120/80 (say “120 over 80”). The first number is the systolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls as the heart pumps. The second number is the diastolic pressure. This is the force of blood on the artery walls between heartbeats, when the heart is at rest.
Let us start with this little fact: almost half of all adults in the United States are affected by hypertension. Recently published revised guidelines for the detection of high blood pressure mean that 46 percent of all Americans 18 years and older are now considered to have hypertension (otherwise known as high blood pressure).