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Hypertension/High Blood Pressure Health Center

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Glossary of High Blood Pressure Terms


Ischemic Heart Disease: a condition caused by a decrease in blood flow to the heart. This decrease is usually the result of narrowed coronary arteries, which impede the blood flow.

Kidney Failure (end-stage renal disease): a condition in which the kidney cannot filter and excrete waste products.

Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI): a medical test that uses magnetic energy to create images of the body. This test is particularly useful to study soft tissues (such as organs in the body).

Magnetic Resonance Arteriography (MRA): one type of MRI test that provides detailed pictures of blood vessels and can reveal where arteries may be narrowed or where blood flow is blocked.

Potassium: an electrolyte that is vital in ensuring that cells can function properly. It is used to make energy for all muscles, including heart muscles.

Proteinuria: the presence of protein in the urine. This may indicate kidney disease or damage.

Secondary Hypertension: high blood pressure that is secondary to problems in another part of the body, such as the adrenals, kidneys, or aorta.

Sphygmomanometer: a device that is used to measure blood pressure. The sphygmomanometer consists of an arm cuff, dial, pump, and valve.

Stent: a metal mesh tube that can open blocked blood vessels during a heart catheterization.

Stroke: an interruption of the blood supply to the brain, resulting in damaged brain tissue. An interruption can be caused by clots that block blood flow, or by bleeding in the brain from a ruptured blood vessel or a significant injury.

Systolic Blood Pressure: the highest force of blood against the walls of the artery when the heart contracts or squeezes blood into the blood vessels. It is the "top" number when referring to a specific blood pressure. For example, if your blood pressure is 120 over 80 or 120/80, the systolic measurement is 120.

TIA (transient ischemic attack): a "mini-stroke," or a warning of an impending stroke. A TIA takes place when blood flow to part of the brain is briefly interrupted.

tPa: a thrombolytic agent, or "clot buster" medication. tPa may be used as treatment for acute ischemic stroke (stroke of sudden onset, caused by a clot blocking blood flow to part of the brain).

Ultrasound: a test that uses high-frequency sound waves to create images of body organs and systems.




WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by James Beckerman, MD, FACC on August 23, 2012

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