Hypertension is the medical term for high blood pressure. Blood pressure refers to the force that the heart creates in order to push blood to all the organs of the body. Optimal, or normal, blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg. Blood pressure between 120/80 mmHg and 129/80 mmHg is considered elevated, which means a person is at greater risk for developing hypertension. Hypertension stage 1 is diagnosed when the top number, or systolic, is between 130 and 139, or the diastolic, or bottom number, is between 80 and 89. Hypertension stage 2 is diagnosed when blood pressure consistently measures higher than 140/90 mmHg.

Having hypertension means blood is being forced through the arteries at an increased pressure, which can damage the inner walls of the coronary arteries. This damage, in turn, makes it easier for plaque to build up, causing coronary artery disease, or CAD.

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