Glossary of terms related to hypertension / high blood pressure.
Arterial Hypertension – also just called “hypertension”, refers to a condition where blood pressure is elevated above normal. Normal is usually quoted as below 120/80.
White coat syndrome – a condition where an individual has elevated blood pressure at the doctors office, yet has much reduced / normal blood pressure at home.
Hypertensive emergency – a severe hypertension that impairs proper functioning of the body's organs. Requires medical treatment to aggressively lower blood pressure.
Exercise hypertension – is a rise in blood pressure in response to exercise. This does not affect everybody, and in healthy individuals, we would expect to see a small drop in blood pressure during exercise due to improved blood flow.
Malignant hypertension – chronic high blood pressure (> 240/120) resulting in organ damage, especially the eyes, kidneys, brain and lungs. Malignant hypertension is accompanied by swelling of the optic disk.
Pulmonary hypertension – is an increase in blood pressure in the pulmonary artery (carrying blood from the heart to the lungs) or vessels in the lungs. The right side of the heart is put under pressure, and one of the common symptoms is shortness of breath and chest pains during exercise.
Renovascular hypertension – also called “renal hypertension” refers to the kidneys. This is caused by a narrowing of the renal arteries (carrying blood to the kidneys), reducing blood flow to the kidneys, which respond by sending out signals to the body to raise blood pressure. Renal hypertension is a secondary form of hypertension (which just means that we know why it happens).
Systolic pressure – the peak pressure in your circulatory system when the heart contracts. When the heart beats, blood is forced out into the aorta, increasing the pressure.
Diastolic pressure – The lowest pressure in your circulatory system, which occurs during the resting stage of the cardiac cycle (heart is resting between beats).