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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

Glossary of High Blood Pressure Terms

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Computed Tomography (CT) Scan: a test that uses X-rays to create a cross-sectional image of selected body sections of a person.

Congestive Heart Failure: the inability of the heart to adequately pump blood. This can be caused by a number of problems, including untreated high blood pressure, heart attacks, or infections.

Corticosteroids: natural hormones, or a group of drugs that are similar to the natural hormones, produced by the adrenal glands. There are two main types: glucocorticoids, which have anti-inflammatory effects, and mineralocorticoids, which are necessary for salt and water balance.

Cyclosporine: a drug that organ transplant patients take to suppress the immune system in order to prevent their bodies from rejecting the transplant.

DASH Diet: The DASH diet, which stands for the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension, calls for a certain number of servings daily from various food groups, including more daily servings of fruits, vegetables, and whole grain foods.

Diastolic Blood Pressure: the pressure of blood against the walls of the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats. It is the "bottom" number when referring to a specific blood pressure. For example, if your blood pressure is 120 over 80 or 120/80, the diastolic measurement is 80.

Diuretics: Diuretics act on the kidneys to remove excess salt and fluid from the blood. This increases the flow of urine and the need to urinate, which reduces the amount of water in the body. This can help lower blood pressure and can be used to treat high blood pressure and heart failure.

Echocardiogram: a test that uses a device to bounce sound waves off the heart to create an image of the heart. The ultrasound image details the blood flow in the heart's chambers and evaluates heart chamber size and how the heart valves are functioning.

Electrocardiogram (EKG or ECG): a diagnostic test that measures the electrical activity, rate, and rhythm of the heartbeat via electrodes attached to the arms, legs, and chest

Essential Hypertension: high blood pressure that does not have an apparent cause, but is associated with such conditions such as obesity, smoking, and/or diet. The vast majority (95%) of people with high blood pressure have essential hypertension -- also known as primary hypertension.

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