Blood Pressure and Health Glossary

Understanding high blood pressure and health terminology

A wide range of terms, ranging from the commonplace to the complex, are used in the discussion of high blood pressure. Our glossary includes some of the frequently used terms you may encounter while navigating this website:


Angina is chest pain caused by a shortage of oxygen-rich blood to your heart. Angina typically feels like squeezing or compression on your chest that can also affect your neck, arms, back, shoulders and jaw.

Although angina isn’t a health condition itself, it is frequently indicative of coronary heart disease. CHD is one of the most common health effects of high blood pressure in adults.


Atherosclerosis is the thickening or an artery wall due to the accumulation of excess white blood cells, plaque and fatty deposits. Over time, this condition can result in a reduced blood flow throughout an artery, leading to serious health effects.


Beta-blockers are medication commonly prescribed to treat high blood pressure. A person with high blood pressure can benefit from treatment with beta-blockers, as these drugs block the stimulating effects of adrenaline on the body’s organs.

Because beta-blockers reduce the stress on the heart caused by adrenaline, they’re a common treatment option for high blood pressure. As the heart has less stress, total blood and oxygen requirements are lessened.

Congestive Heart Failure

Congestive heart failure (CHF) is a serious health condition that occurs when your heart is incapable of pumping blood at a sufficient level to meet your body’s needs, leading to excessive tiredness and severe shortness of breath.

Congestive heart failure can be brought on by a number of different health factors, including high blood pressure. Other risk factors include obesity, a history of heart attacks and smoking.

Diastolic Blood Pressure

Diastolic blood pressure is the measure of your blood pressure when your heart is in a relaxed state between beats. The diastolic blood pressure measurement is the lower of the two numbers used when measuring your blood pressure.


Diuretics are medications used to flush excess fluid from the body. They are used as a treatment for high blood pressure in some cases, as flushing excess fluid from the body removes excess sodium.


Hypertension is another name for high blood pressure. Hypertension is the same as Stage 1 or Stage 2 high blood pressure, while prehypertension refers to any level of blood pressure that’s above the normal range but not yet considered hypertension.

Kidney Failure

Kidney failure (also commonly known as renal failure) is a medical condition that occurs when your kidneys are no longer capable of filtering waste products from your blood.

Kidney failure, as well as many other kidney-related health problems, are closely correlated with high blood pressure and cardiovascular conditions.

Secondary Hypertension

Secondary hypertension (or secondary high blood pressure) is high blood pressure that is caused by an existing medical condition. Some people experience high blood pressure due to adrenal or kidney conditions.


Stroke is damage to the brain caused by a stoppage in your body’s blood supply to the brain. Stroke is one of many serious health conditions closely correlated with high blood pressure.

Systolic Blood Pressure

Systolic blood pressure is the measure of your blood pressure when your heart is beating or contracted. The systolic blood pressure measurement is the higher of the two numbers used when measuring your blood pressure.