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    Glossary of High Blood Pressure Terms

    Angina: chest pain

    Angiotensin Converting Enzyme (ACE) Inhibitors: one kind of medication used to treat high blood pressure by preventing the body from making the chemical angiotensin II. This chemical causes blood vessels to narrow, which can raise blood pressure. ACE inhibitors allow the vessels to expand, which lowers blood pressure. These drugs are also used to treat congestive heart failure, to protect the kidneys in people with diabetes, and to treat people who have had a heart attack.

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    Atherosclerosis: the build-up of fatty deposits within the arteries, eventually may cause a blockage of blood flow or stiffening of the artery walls.

    Balloon Angioplasty: a procedure in which a small balloon at the tip of the catheter (see cardiac catheterization) is inflated while in an artery to stretch a narrowed artery opening and allow for increase blood flow.

    Beta-Blockers: one kind of medication used to treat high blood pressure, chest pain, and irregular heartbeat and to help protect a person from heart disease. Beta-blockers work by blocking the effects of adrenaline in various parts of the body. Beta-blockers relieve stress on the heart so that it requires less blood and oxygen. As a result, the heart doesn't have to work as hard and blood pressure is lowered.

    Calcium Channel Blockers: one kind of high blood pressure drug that slows the movement of calcium into the cells of the heart and the walls of the arteries (blood vessels that carry blood from the heart to the tissues). This relaxes the arteries and reduces the pressure in the blood vessels and makes it easier for the heart to pump blood.

    Cardiac Catheterization: a procedure in which a catheter (a small flexible tube) is inserted into a large artery and guided to the coronary arteries in the heart to determine pressure and blood flow in the heart.

    Carotid Artery: an artery in the neck that supplies blood to the brain. They are located on both the right and left sides of the neck.

    Carotid Endarterectomy: the surgical removal of plaque within the carotid artery.

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