The following are health and medical definitions of terms that appear in the High Blood Pressure Medication article.
Abnormal: Not normal. Deviating from the usual structure, position, condition, or behavior. In referring to a growth, abnormal may mean that it is cancerous or premalignant (likely to become cancer).
ACE inhibitors: A drug that inhibits ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) which is important to the formation of angiotensin II. Angiotensin II causes arteries in the body to constrict and thereby raises the blood pressure. ACE inhibitors lower the blood pressure by inhibiting the formation of angiotensin II. This relaxes the arteries. Relaxing the arteries not only lowers blood pressure, but also improves the pumping efficiency of a failing heart and improves cardiac output in patients with heart failure. ACE inhibitors are therefore used for blood pressure control and congestive heart failure.
Adrenaline: A substance produced by the medulla (inside) of the adrenal gland, adrenaline (the official name in the British Pharmacopoeia) is synonymous with epinephrine. Technically speaking, adrenaline is a sympathomimetic catecholamine. It causes quickening of the heart beat, strengthens the force of the heart's contraction, opens up the bronchioles in the lungs and has numerous other effects. The secretion of adrenaline by the adrenal is part of the "fight-or-flight" reaction that we have in response to being frightened.
Angiotensin: A family of peptides (smaller than proteins) that act as vasoconstrictors to narrow blood vessels.
Angiotensin converting enzyme: Usually abbreviated ACE.
Atenolol: A medication that blocks the action of a portion of the involuntary nervous system that stimulates the pace of the heartbeat. By blocking the action of these nerves, atenolol reduces the heart rate and is useful in treating abnormally rapid heart rhythms. Atenolol also reduces the force of heart muscle contraction, lowers blood pressure, and is helpful in treating angina. It is also used for the prevention of migraine headaches and the treatment of certain types of tremors. The brand name is Tenormin. Generic is available.
Blood pressure: The blood pressure is the pressure of the blood within the arteries. It is produced primarily by the contraction of the heart muscle. It's measurement is recorded by two numbers. The first (systolic pressure) is measured after the heart contracts and is highest. The second (diastolic pressure) is measured before the heart contracts and lowest. A blood pressure cuff is used to measure the pressure. Elevation of blood pressure is called "hypertension".
Brain: That part of the central nervous system that is located within the cranium (skull). The brain functions as the primary receiver, organizer and distributor of information for the body. It has two (right and left) halves called "hemispheres."
Calcium: A mineral found mainly in the hard part of bones, where it is stored. Calcium is added to bones by cells called osteoblasts and is removed from bones by cells called osteoclasts. Calcium is essential for healthy bones. It is also important for muscle contraction, heart action, nervous system maintenance, and normal blood clotting. Food sources of calcium include dairy foods, some leafy green vegetables such as broccoli and collards, canned salmon, clams, oysters, calcium-fortified foods, and tofu. According to the National Academy of Sciences, adequate intake of calcium is 1,200 milligrams a day (four glasses of milk) for men and women 51 and older, 1,000 milligrams a day for adults 19 through 50, and 1,300 milligrams a day for children 9 through 18. The upper limit for calcium intake is 2.5 grams daily.Learn more about calcium with evidence-based information on RxList.
Cardiac: Having to do with the heart.
Contraction: The tightening and shortening of a muscle.
Dilate: To stretch or enlarge. It comes from the Latin verb "dilatare" meaning "to enlarge or expand."
Dilating: The widening and opening of the cervix caused by uterine contractions.
Diuretic: Anything that promotes the formation of urine by the kidney. (The word "diuretic" comes from a combination of the Greek "dia-", thoroughly + "ourein", to urinate = to urinate thoroughly).
Enzyme: A protein (or protein-based molecule) that speeds up a chemical reaction in a living organism. An enzyme acts as catalyst for specific chemical reactions, converting a specific set of reactants (called substrates) into specific products. Without enzymes, life as we know it would not exist.
Epinephrine: A substance produced by the medulla (inside) of the adrenal gland. The name epinephrine was coined in 1898 by the American pharmacologist and physiologic chemist (biochemist) John Jacob Abel who isolated it from the adrenal gland which is located above (epi-) the kidney ("nephros" in Greek). (Abel also crystallized insulin). Technically speaking, epinephrine is a sympathomimetic catecholamine. It causes quickening of the heart beat, strengthens the force of the heart's contraction, opens up the airways (bronchioles) in the lungs and has numerous other effects. The secretion of epinephrine by the adrenal is part of the fight-or-flight reaction. Adrenaline is a synonym of epinephrine and is the official name in the British Pharmacopoeia.
Heart: The muscle that pumps blood received from veins into arteries throughout the body. It is positioned in the chest behind the sternum (breastbone; in front of the trachea, esophagus, and aorta; and above the diaphragm muscle that separates the chest and abdominal cavities. The normal heart is about the size of a closed fist, and weighs about 10.5 ounces. It is cone-shaped, with the point of the cone pointing down to the left. Two-thirds of the heart lies in the left side of the chest with the balance in the right chest.
Heart rate: The number of heart beats per unit time, usually per minute. The heart rate is based on the number of contractions of the ventricles (the lower chambers of the heart). The heart rate may be too fast (tachycardia) or too slow (bradycardia). The pulse is bulge of an artery from the wave of blood coursing through the blood vessel as a result of the heart beat. The pulse is often taken at the wrist to estimate the heart rate.
High blood pressure: Also known as hypertension, high blood pressure is, by definition, a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.
Hypertension: High blood pressure, defined as a repeatedly elevated blood pressure exceeding 140 over 90 mmHg -- a systolic pressure above 140 with a diastolic pressure above 90.
Innervate: To supply with nerves. It is a little known fact that the cornea is the most densely innervated tissue in the body.
Muscle: Muscle is the tissue of the body which primarily functions as a source of power. There are three types of muscle in the body. Muscle which is responsible for moving extremities and external areas of the body is called "skeletal muscle." Heart muscle is called "cardiac muscle." Muscle that is in the walls of arteries and bowel is called "smooth muscle."
Muscular: Having to do with the muscles. Also, endowed with above average muscle development. Muscular system refers to all of the muscles of the body collectively.
Peripheral: Situated away from the center, as opposed to centrally located.
Pharmacy: A location where prescription drugs are sold. A pharmacy is, by law, constantly supervised by a licensed pharmacist.
Pregnant: The state of carrying a developing fetus within the body.
Receptor: 1. In cell biology, a structure on the surface of a cell (or inside a cell) that selectively receives and binds a specific substance. There are many receptors. There is a receptor for (insulin; there is a receptor for low-density lipoproteins (LDL); etc. To take an example, the receptor for substance P, a molecule that acts as a messenger for the sensation of pain, is a unique harbor on the cell surface where substance P docks. Without this receptor, substance P cannot dock and cannot deliver its message of pain. Variant forms of nuclear hormone receptors mediate processes such as cholesterol metabolism and fatty acid production. Some hormone receptors are implicated in diseases such as diabetes and certain types of cancer. A receptor called PXR appears to jump-start the body's response to unfamiliar chemicals and may be involved in drug-drug interactions.
Smooth muscle: One of the three types of muscle tissue in the body (skeletal, smooth, cardiac). Generally forms the supporting tissue of blood vessels and hollow internal organs such as the stomach, intestine, and bladder. So named because of the absence of microscopic lines called "cross-striations" which are seen in the other two types.
Tenormin: See: Atenolol.
Tubes: The "tubes" are medically known as the Fallopian tubes. There are two Fallopian tubes, one on each side, which transport the egg from the ovary to the uterus (the womb). The Fallopian tubes have small hair-like projections called cilia on the cells of the lining.
Vasodilators: Agents that act as blood vessel dilators (vasodilators) and open vessels by relaxing their muscular walls. For example, nitroglycerin is a vasodilator. So are the ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitors.
Get tips on handling your hypertension.
Most Popular Topics
Pill Identifier on RxList
- quick, easy,
Find a Local Pharmacy
- including 24 hour, pharmacies