Systolic Hypertension

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What is Systolic Hypertension?

Systolic hypertension is defined as an elevated systolic blood pressure (SBP). If the systolic blood pressure is elevated (>140) with a normal (<90) diastolic blood pressure (DBP), it is called isolated systolic hypertension (ISH).

Cause of Systolic Hypertension

This type of high blood pressure is more common in older adults, especially older women. In fact, the majority of people older than 60 who have hypertension have ISH.

Increased arterial stiffness is the major cause. Systolic hypertension may be due to reduced compliance of the aorta with increasing age. This increases the load on the ventricle and compromises coronary blood flow, eventually resulting in left ventricular hypertrophy, coronary ischemia, and heart failure.

A systolic blood pressure over 140 mm Hg is an important risk factor for stroke and heart disease. ISH can cause damage to organs such as the kidneys, brain, heart, or eyes. And it should be treated.


The goal of treating systolic hypertension is to delay and reduce the extent of damage to the heart, the cerebrovascular system, and the kidneys.

Treatment includes lifestyle changes and medicines that lower blood pressure.
  • Lifestyle changes include eating healthy with the DASH diet (including a diet low in sodium (salt) and rich in whole grains, fruits, and vegetables), losing weight, being active and limiting alcohol.
  • In addition to lifestyle changes, medication can also be used to reduce systolic hypertension to safe levels, although medications frequently have side effects. Regular visits to doctor and his/her guidance may help in reducing side effects.

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