Healthy and Unhealthy Blood Vessel : Some blood pressure medications work by increasing vessel dilation and blood flow. Blood pressure medications are grouped into several classes. Each class works in a different way to lower blood pressure. One example is the ACE inhibitors (e.g., enalapril, lisinopril, ramipril). This class of medications works by blocking the body's production of a substance that tightens the blood vessels. As a result, the blood vessels become more relaxed, and the pressure inside the vessels decreases. Angiotensin II receptor blockers (e.g., candesartan, losartan, valsartan) is another group that works in a similar way as the ACE inhibitors. But instead of blocking the production of the blood vessel-tightening substance, it stops the substance from working on the blood vessels. This causes the blood vessels to relax and the blood pressure to decrease.
Blood pressure (BP) is the pressure exerted by circulating blood upon the walls of blood vessels. When used without further specification, "blood pressure" usually refers to the arterial pressure in the systemic circulation. It is usually measured at a person's upper arm. Blood pressure is usually expressed in terms of the systolic (maximum) pressure over diastolic (minimum) pressure and is measured in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). It is one of the vital signs along with respiratory rate, heart rate, oxygen saturation, and body temperature. Normal resting blood pressure in an adult is approximately 120/80 mm Hg.
Blood pressure varies depending on situation, activity, and disease states. It is regulated by the nervous and endocrine systems. Blood pressure that is low due to a disease state is called hypotension, and pressure that is consitently high is hypertension. Both have many causes which can range from mild to severe. Both may be of sudden onset or of long duration. Long term hypertension is a risk factor for many diseases, including kidney failure, heart disease, and stroke. Long term hypertension is more common than long term hypotension in Western countries. Long term hypertension often goes undetected because of infrequent monitoring and the absence of symptoms.
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