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The Language of the Heart

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You're probably being pelted with a whole new vocabulary related to your condition. Don't let it intimidate you. The language of hypertension is pretty straightforward when you're clear on a few definitions.

Hypertension—Just a fancy word for high blood pressure.

Essential hypertension
—Also known as "primary high blood pressure, " this is the most common form of hypertension and it exhibits no direct causes. This form is treatable but not curable.

Secondary hypertension
—This is usually linked to another factor such as medications, pregnancy, kidney disease or adrenal disease (among other conditions). This form can usually be reversed when the primary medical issue is addressed.

Sphygmomanometer—A fancy word for a blood pressure monitor.

Your Numbers—This refers to your average blood pressure, which is written as a fraction. 120/60 is spoken as "one-twenty over sixty."

Systolic pressure—The top number of your blood pressure numbers, refers to the amount of pressure in the arteries during a heart beat.

Diastolic pressure—The bottom number in your blood pressure numbers, refers to the amount of pressure that remains in the arteries between heart beats.

Have more questions or don't see a term here? Head on over to the high blood pressure community and ask a question there.

Posted: 4/23/14