Lower Blood Pressure

High Systolic Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

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Blood Pressure Measurement Units

Blood pressure is quoted in millimetres of mercury (mm Hg). There are two numbers which are normally written, for example, as 120/80 and pronounced ‘one twenty over eighty’. This is around the optimum pressure, (although 110/70 is sometimes quoted as a more preferable blood pressure), and is common for people who have normal blood pressure.

Systolic and Diastolic Blood Pressure

The first reading is known as the Systolic pressure, and this is defined as the pressure when the heart ‘beats’, and reflects the pressure in the aorta which is the the large artery which carries blood coming out of your heart, and aorta’s primary branches that carry blood around the body. The systolic pressure is always the largest number, and represents the highest pressure of blood during each heartbeat as blood is pumped into the arteries.  


The second reading is known as the Diastolic blood pressure, (resting blood pressure) and refers to the pressure inside the aorta and it’s various branches between each heart beat. Blood that remains in the Aorta after the beat creates the pressure that forms the diastolic reading, and it exits the aorta prior to the next beat.

Blood Pulse Pressure

This term defines the difference between the two different blood pressure readings. For most people the pulse pressure should be approximately 40 mm Hg. This is the formal figure, although it can vary by a few points without being seen as unusual.

How the aging process affects blood pressure

Your blood pressure is unlikely to stay static as you progress through the various life stages from childhood, adolescence, early adulthood, and then middle and old age. Young people’s aortas are supple and and flexible so they can easily enlarge and stretch as blood enters the vessel. Because of this expansion the pressure is kept relatively low which is why most young people have healthy normal or low systolic blood pressure readings.

However, in older people the aorta begins to get more brittle, which can be aggravated by diet and other lifestyle choices. As it hardens it is able to expand less, and so it exerts greater resistance to the heart beat, and this is why the Systolic blood pressure reading tends to increase with age. The medical profession have a target of less than 140 mm Hg systolic pressure for a 50 year old person, unless suffering from kidney problems or diabetes, in which case this is reduced by 10 points.

Why do some people have much lower diastolic bp than systolic blood pressure?

As the systolic pressure rises with age due to the stiffening of the aorta, more blood is forced into surrounding blood vessels during the heart beat, and this then causes less volume of blood remaining during the resting phase to maintain the diastolic blood pressure, which is why it can become significantly lower than the rising systolic. This can develop into diastolic hypotension.

Lowering systolic pressure is the physician’s primary treatment goal

High systolic and diastolic blood pressure are both undesirable, and are responsible for an increased risk of heart attack and stroke. Because of this, doctors almost always aim to treat the high systolic pressure. However, this may sometimes result in an even larger gap between the systolic and diastolic readings.

Under 50 years of age

When people under 50 years old develop blood pressure problems it is more common to experience raised diastolic blood pressure readings – diastolic hypertension, which then stabilise or even fall.

Over 50 years of age

People aged over 50 years tend to suffer from higher systolic blood pressure – systolic hypertension, but the diastolic pressure may fall as a result as explained above. Lower diastolic pressure means that the pulse pressure also tends to get larger.

Different Types of Heart Disease Medications

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What are the different types of heart disease medications?

If you have coronary heart disease (CHD) or are at risk of developing it, your health care professional may prescribe medication to treat your condition, lower your blood cholesterol, or help you to lower your blood

But have you wondered why there are so many different types of heart medication available, and what the differences between them are?

This article briefly lists the main categories and what types of treatment they are used for. It is important to understand that whilst heart medications can reduce the risk of having a first or repeat heart attack, you should always look for the underlying causes, with a view to changing your lifestyle if this is a causative factor.   You should also make sure that any medication is taken strictly according to the instructions, as directed by your Physician. Categories of Drugs used to treat CHD include:

  • ACE Inhibitors
  • Aspirin
  • Beta Blockers
  • Blood Cholesterol Lowering (LDL)
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Digitalis
  • Diuretics
  • Nitrates
  • Thrombolytic Agents



ACE (angiotensin converting enzyme) inhibitor

This type of drug stops the narrowing of the blood vessels by inhibiting the production of a chemical that causes the condition. This makes it a suitable choice for the control of high blood pressure and also where there has been damage to the heart muscle. Following a heart attack, it may be prescribed to improve the circulation and help the heart to pump blood. It is also used for persons with heart failure, a condition in which the heart is unable to pump enough blood to supply the body’s needs.

An example of this type of drug is Perindopril, which is commonly available under the brand name Aceon.
You can find a review of this medication here: Aceon


This is a commonly available non-prescription medicine that has been shown to lower the risk of a heart attack, especially for patients who have previously suffered from one. It can also assist in keeping the arteries open after heart bypass or similar artery-opening operations such as coronary angioplasty. However Aspirin does have associated risks, and so is not recommended by the US Food and Drug Administration to prevent heart attacks in otherwise healthy individuals.

Beta Blocker

This works by reducing nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. This slows down the heart rate, and makes it beat with less contracting force, so blood pressure drops and the heart works less hard. It is used to lower high blood pressure, treat chest pain, and to prevent a repeat heart attack.

An example of this type of drug is Metoprolol, which is commonly available under the brand name Toprol-XL. You can find a review of this medication here: Toprol-XL

Blood cholesterol-lowering (LDL)

There are different types of Blood Cholesterol medicine

  • lipid- and cholesterol-modifying medicine
    • This reduces triglycerides and increases cholesterol carried in high density lipoprotein (HDL) in the blood. HDL cholesterol is sometimes called “good” cholesterol because higher concentrations of HDL cholesterol in the blood are associated with a reduced risk of heart disease. The decrease in triglycerides is thought to be due in part to reduced release of triglycerides from fat tissue in the body.
    • An example of this type of drug is Gemfibrozil which is commonly available under the brand name Lopid
  • Statins
    • This type successfully decreases the levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol in the blood (by up to 60%). This is due to the inhibiting of an enzyme in the body, HMG-CoA Reductase, which controls the rate of cholesterol production by the body itself. They also allow the liver to increase it’s natural ability to remove the LDL Cholesterol from the blood.
    • There are currently five statin drugs on the market in the United States: lovastatin, simvastatin, pravastatin, fluvastatin, and atorvastatin

Calcium Channel Blocker

Has the effect of relaxing the blood vessels, and is used for the treatment of high blood pressure and chest pain. The cells of the heart contract in order to pump blood into the arteries. This requires calcium which passes into the cells via tiny ‘channels’. Calcium-channel blockers reduce the amount of calcium that goes into these muscle cells, causing them to relax. The effect widens the arteries which helps to lower the blood pressure.

An example of this type of drug is Verapamil, which is also commonly available under the brand name Verapamil.


makes the heart contract harder and is used when the heart’s pumping function has been weakened; it also slows some fast heart rhythms.

An example of this type of drug is Digoxin which is commonly available under the brand name Lanoxin.


Diuretics decrease the fluid level in the body and are used to treat high blood pressure. They are often referred to as “water pills.” because they work by increasing the amount of fluid and salt that is passed in the urine. This has some effect on reducing the fluid in the circulation which reduces blood pressure. They may also have a ‘relaxing’ effect on the blood vessels which reduces the pressure within the blood vessels. Only a low dose of a diuretic is needed to treat high blood pressure. Therefore, the diuretic effect is not particularly noticeable.

An example of this type of drug is Losartan used in combination with Hydrochlorothiazide, which is commonly available under the brand name Hyzaar. You can find a review of this medication here: Hyzaar

Nitrates (including nitroglycerine)

An angina pain develops if part of the heart muscle does not get as much blood and oxygen as it needs. (Blood flow to heart muscle is restricted because the coronary arteries are narrowed.) Nitrates mainly work by relaxing the blood vessels in the body. This causes them to dilate (widen) – Vasodilation. This then makes it easier for the heart to pump blood and reduces the ‘strain’ on the heart. This means the heart muscle does not need as much blood and oxygen supply.

An example of this type of drug is Prazosin which is commonly available under the brand name Minipress. You can find a review of this medication here: Minipress

Thrombolytic agents

These are also called “clot busting drugs,” they are given during a heart attack to break up a blood clot in a coronary artery in order to restore blood flow.

An example of this type of drug is Clopidogrel Bisulfate, which is commonly available under the brand name Plavix.
You can find a review of this medication here:


As with all types of drugs, heart drugs can cause side effects. If side effects occur, report them to your doctor. Often, a change in the dose or type of a medication, or the use of a combination of drugs can reduce or eliminate the side effect.


If you enjoyed reading this article, and have considered the possibility of pursuing a future career in medecine, then studying through Benedictine University online courses offers you a way to gain your medical qualifications, and open the door to making an impact in the public health field.

Important Information about High Blood Pressure and Heart Medication

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Heart Disease is a massive problem in the United States and Great Britain.

Heart Disease is the primary cause of premature death in the United States, Great Britain and many other European and Westernised Countries. Statistics available from the British Heart Foundation indicate that it is the most common cause of mortality, being listed in more than thirty percent of all death certificates issued in the UK. There are similar data published by the American Heart Association indicating that in excess of 80 million Americans are currently sufferering from some form of Cardiovascular Disease. The statistics are breathtaking – In the UK alone, nearly 230,000 people suffer a heart attack each and every year. This translates into someone experiencing a myocardial infarction (heart attack) every two minutes. The sobering fact is that in about 30% of these heart attacks, the patients die. This represents nearly 70,000 annual deaths annually in the UK alone, or the equivalent of more than 1,300 Jumbo Jet crashes without any survivors!

The Dangers of High Blood Pressure (Hypertension)

High blood pressure (hypertension) is often referred to as the “silent killer”, because it does not exhibit any symptoms which are easily noticed, until the situation becomes quite serious. However it quietly carries on increasing if left unchecked, until it causes a massive failure of one of the body’s essential organs. Even if the sufferer survives, they may be left with a permanent disability or a severely degraded quality of life. The management of high blood pressure is therefore a key defence in the battle against heart disease.

Different Types of High Blood Pressure

There are two different types of High Blood Pressure known as ‘Primary Hypertension’ and ‘Secondary Hypertension’. Primary or “essential” hypertension has no known cause, however genetic and certain lifestyle factors such as body weight and salt intake are involved. Approximately ninety percent of people diagnosed with hypertension fall into this category. The diagnosis is made when no other cause is found. Secondary hypertension is caused by some other medical diagnosis or problem, such as kidney disease, Cushing’s syndrome, pregnancy, oral contraceptive use, chronic alcohol abuse, or the use of certain medications.

Primary hypertension

More than 9 out of 10 people with high blood pressure have what is called ‘primary’ or ‘essential hypertension’. It may be surprising to discover that there is no single clear cause of this condition, although it is known that some lifestyle factors can contribute to the condition. These include:

  • smoking
  • family history
  • obesity
  • excessive use of alcohol
  • lack of exercise
  • diet

Secondary hypertension

Around 1 in 10 people with high blood pressure have ‘secondary hypertension’. This means that the condition cannot be linked to a recognised cause – in fact, it may be a symptom of another underlying disease or factor such as:

  • kidney disease
  • endocrine disease
  • narrowing of the aorta
  • steroid medicines
  • the contraceptive pill
  • pregnancy, which can cause pre-eclampsia

How to control High Blood Pressure with Hyzaar Blood Pressure Medication

Hyzaar is a drug that prevents fluid retention in the body’s tissues, which explains its colloquial designation as a “water pill”. This medication is a combination medication used for the treatment of high blood pressure. It consists of two separate drugs that are blended together. These are:-

  • Losartan
  • Hydrochlorothiazide

Losartan belongs to a contemporary class of blood pressure medications that prevents the hormone angiotensin II from contracting the blood vessels. This in turn allows blood to flow more efficiently, which can assist with maintaining control over the patient’s blood pressure.

Hydrochlorothiazide is a diuretic that increases the elimination of urine, which has the overall effect of removing fluid from the body and as a result, the patient’s blood pressure is lowered.

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Blood Pressure Terminology

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Understanding the condition

Many people who suffer from elevated high blood pressure are not aware that they have the condition. This is due to the lack of observable symptoms, and the fact that many sufferers appear to be, and generally seem to be in good health, even to the point of declaring that they are ‘feeling great’. However, it is an important condition to understand. This is one of the most frequently ocurring medical conditions, which increases with increasing age, and which also increases the risks of stroke and other heart ailments. In order to understand the condition, it is helpful to understand some of most frequently asked questions about blood pressure:

What is blood pressure?

Blood pressure is the measure of the force which the blood exerts against the walls of the main arteries. As the heart responds to stress and physical activities such as exercising, blood pressure rises and falls.

Methods of measuring blood pressure?

Blood pressure is measured through the use of an instrument called sphygmomanometer. The traditional and familiar instrument used by physicians has, in recent years been supplemented through the ready availability of automatic electronic machines which are available for self testing by individuals. The blood pressure reading is indicated, either mechanically or electronically by giving the systolic and diastolic pressures expressed in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg).

The measurement is written with the systolic pressure above the diastolic pressure or with the systolic number before the diastolic number, such as 120/80 mm Hg.

What do the terms systolic pressure and diastolic pressure mean ?

The systolic pressure is the force of the blood exerted as the heart muscle contracts while the diastolic pressure is the measure of the force of the blood against the arteries during the relaxation of the ventricles between beats.

What is the normal blood pressure?

The normal blood pressure of a healthy young adult is about 110/75 (below 120 mm Hg systolic and 80 mm Hg diastolic). As one gets older, the normal blood pressure usually increases – a 60-year old usually has a blood pressure of 130/90.

What is high blood pressure?

High blood pressure, is known as hypertension. This a condition where the blood pressure measurement is greater than the normal blood pressure even when the individual is resting.

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