Isolated Systolic Hypertension (High Blood Pressure)

isolated systolic hypertension

If you are in your 50s like me, isolated systolic hypertension is the most common form of high blood pressure (resource). Observing the patients at the medical center, I’ve seen many reasons why this happens. Being younger doesn’t let you off the hook either so I’ve decided to put all my research together to share with you about isolated systolic hypertension.

What is Isolated Systolic Hypertension? Isolated Systolic Hypertension is defined as having a systolic blood pressure reading of 130 mm Hg or higher and a diastolic number less than 80 mm Hg. It’s the most common high blood pressure in the elderly but younger people can get it also.

This post will go into further detail about isolated systolic hypertension (high blood pressure). You’ll find out why the elderly gets it more, it’s causes, treatments and what the consequences are if you don’t keep it under control.

Isolated Systolic Hypertension

I’m intrigued with how the heart and circulatory system works. I enjoy discussing it and sharing my knowledge with you. The systolic blood pressure number is the upper number of your blood pressure reading. This number indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats pumping blood out.

If your blood pressure is 120/80, commonly referred to as 120 over 80, you have a systolic blood pressure reading of 120 mm Hg. By the way, did you know that 120 over 80 is not considered normal blood pressure anymore? (resource) If you’re interested, I wrote a whole article about it in another post right here in this same website.

Isolated systolic hypertension is when your systolic number is 130 mm Hg or higher and your diastolic (lower) number is less than 80 mm Hg (resource). This reading would place your blood pressure into the High Blood Pressure Stage 1 category. If your systolic number is 140 or higher with a diastolic number less than 80, this places your isolated systolic hypertension into the category of High Blood Pressure Stage 2.

If your systolic blood pressure was over 180, you would be in the hypertensive crisis category. A blood pressure reading this high requires you to either call your doctor immediately or call 911 depending on your symptoms (resource). I have another article in this same website that covers who you’re going to call in complete detail right here.

isolated systolic hypertension

Isolated Systolic Hypertension In The Elderly

You know what they say about old, the body definitely starts to have more issues and the topic of this article is no different. Isolated Systolic hypertension is the most common form of high blood pressure in the elderly. According to a recent study (study), persons who reached age 65 had a 90% lifetime risk of developing high blood pressure, particularly isolated systolic hypertension, if they lived another 20 to 25 years.

With a rapidly aging population the prevalence of high blood pressure, particularly isolated systolic hypertension, is expected to increase substantially. This is a rapidly growing concern and is a challenge that healthcare providers experience every day.

Doctors tend to watch the systolic blood pressure number in people ages 50 and over more closely as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease. This is so because systolic blood pressure rises steadily with age due to the increasing stiffness of large arteries, long-term plaque buildup and an increased incidence of cardiac and vascular disease.

Isolated Systolic Hypertension In The Young

While primarily seen in the elderly, isolated systolic hypertension can affect the young also. A younger person can slip through the cracks for prevention and receiving a proper diagnosis. This can happen for the following reasons:

  • Younger people often skip regular physicals.
  • Younger people are often viewed as free of diseases, particularly high blood pressure.
  • High BP, particularly Isolated systolic hypertension is often regarded as an anomaly that will go away.
  • Some risk factors affect all ages that can increase the risk of developing hypertension.
  • Younger people may consume more sodium and saturated fats through fast foods.
  • Young athletes who may be taking anabolic steroids for increased performance.

A study (study) from the University Of Texas Southwestern Medical Center represent the most comprehensive study looking at isolated systolic hypertension in young adults. They concluded that young people with this condition are at risk for future artery stiffening. This is linked to an increased risk of stroke and damage to the kidney and brain. The University also found that younger people with this condition may have an abnormally stiff aorta and that they need to follow up with their primary care physicians.

isolated systolic hypertension

Isolated Systolic Hypertension During Pregnancy

High blood pressure, including isolated systolic hypertension poses various risks during pregnancy including:

  • Placental abruption: This is when the placenta separates from the inner wall of the uterus before delivery.
  • Decreased blood flow to the placenta: This can lead to low birth weight or premature birth.
  • Premature delivery: To prevent potentially life threatening complications sometimes an early delivery is needed.
  • Intrauterine growth restriction: high blood pressure might result in decreased or slowed growth of the baby.
  • Future cardiovascular disease: Having preeclampsia can increase your risk of future heart and blood vessel disease.

In 2007, a study (study) of 3,470 pregnant participants showed that 26% had isolated systolic hypertension. They also found a first delivery at an earlier age increased the risk of isolated systolic hypertension.

Isolated Systolic Hypertension Causes

In addition to aging, plaque and increased stiffness of arteries isolated systolic hypertension can be caused by the following health problems (resource):

  • Hyperthyroidism: When the thyroid produces too much thyroid hormone, high blood pressure can result. In addition, if the glands secrete too much parathyroid hormone, the amount of calcium in your blood rises, which triggers a sudden rise in blood pressure.
  • Kidney Disease: Improperly working kidneys can cause fluid retention which causes an increase in blood pressure.
  • Diabetes: Most people with diabetes will eventually have high blood pressure. Diabetes damages the arteries and makes them targets for hardening which increases the risk of Isolated systolic hypertension.
  • Heart valve problems: Valves that are not working properly make the heart work harder and stress the blood vessels.
  • Anemia: The heart needs to work harder to deliver sufficient oxygen to the organs which can cause damage to the blood vessels.

Consequences Of Isolated Systolic Hypertension

Whether you are young or in your 50s like me, it’s important to monitor and treat your blood pressure. Isolated Systolic Hypertension Can Cause The Following Serious Health Issues (resources):

  • Stroke
  • Heart attack
  • Heart disease
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Vision loss
  • Aneurysm

According to recent studies, for people aged from 40 to 89, for every 20 mm Hg increase in systolic blood pressure (upper number) the risk of death from ischemic heart disease and stroke doubles. Ischemic heart disease, also called coronary heart disease, is caused when the narrowed arteries in the heart receive less blood and oxygen which can lead to a heart attack.

isolated systolic high blood pressure

Treating Isolated Systolic Hypertension


If your systolic blood pressure is high your doctor may prescribe medicine to help bring it down (resource). The following are common blood pressure medications:

  • Diuretics
  • Beta-blockers
  • Ace inhibitors
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Angiotensin ll receptor blockers
  • Alpha Blockers
  • Alpha-2 receptor agonists

Every so often a doctor will prescribe a combination of 2 or more medications to help lower your blood pressure. Evidence from individual and combination-therapy trials (study) suggest that patients who require more than one medication, a combination of calcium channel blockers and thiazide-like diuretics should be the initial strategy for treatment.

If you don’t have a doctor or a health plan that’s affordable and right for you, you may want to check out my recommendation on a health plan service. You can read my blog post on it by clicking right here.

Natural Treatments

Whether a doctor will recommend medications or not, lifestyle changes will always be advised. The following are the common lifestyle changes and habits that should be followed to help lower your isolated systolic hypertension (resource):

Relaxation Techniques

Try these proven methods to help lower blood pressure:

  • Pressure Points Like The Spirit Gate
  • Breathing Exercises Such As Morning Breathing
  • Targeted Self-Massages
  • Meditation
  • Warm Healing Baths

If you’re interested in learning more about the above relaxation techniques in complete detail, I wrote another article in this same website that you can check out by clicking right here.


Include These Foods Daily (resource):

  • Skinless Chicken & Fish: The best fish are wild caught.
  • Fruits like avocados, apples and kiwi.
  • Vegetables like broccoli, asparagus, spinach and sweet potatoes.
  • Nuts like almonds, pecans and walnuts.
  • Whole grains like brown rice and oatmeal.

systolic high blood pressure


Magnesium causes a calming effect on your body including arteries and veins which will help prevent them from constricting which can raise blood pressure.

The Top 5 Foods High In Magnesium:

  1. Spinach
  2. Swiss Chard
  3. Dark Chocolate
  4. Pumpkin Seeds
  5. Almonds

My recommended blood pressure formula contains magnesium as one of its main ingredients. You can check out my post in this same website about it by clicking here.

Potassium and Sodium

Try maintaining the potassium to sodium ratio of 4:1. The daily recommended amounts would be about 1,500 mg of sodium (unless you’re an athlete or have an occupation where you’re sweating all day) and 4,700 mg of potassium. This ratio helps manage your blood pressure by controlling the amount of fluid stored in your body (resource).

Foods High In Potassium:

  1. Sweet Potatoes
  2. Leafy Greens
  3. Dried Apricots
  4. Beans
  5. Bananas

Physical Activity

By deciding to improve your lifestyle and taking charge of your fitness may be one of the best decisions you’ll ever make. That choice is yours! So, get off the couch and enjoy about 20-30 minutes of regular physical activity every day.

Physical Activities Can Include:

  • Walks
  • Yoga
  • Jogging
  • High or Low Intensity Cardio

Related Questions

Which blood pressure number is more important? Research shows that both blood pressure numbers are equally important in monitoring heart health and for diagnosing high blood pressure. However, for people over 50 more attention is given to the higher number, systolic blood pressure, as a major risk factor for cardiovascular disease.

What is the difference between systolic and diastolic blood pressure? The higher number is your Systolic Blood Pressure. This indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls when the heart beats. The lower number is your Diastolic Blood Pressure. This indicates how much pressure your blood is exerting against your artery walls while the heart is resting between beats.

What Is Low Systolic Blood pressure? The American Heart Association says there is no specific number at which blood pressure is considered too low, as long as none of the symptoms of trouble are present. Most experts define low systolic blood pressure as a systolic number less than 90 mm Hg.

(Regain Control Of Your Blood Pressure & Check Out My Review In This Same Website Of The Blood Pressure Formula By Clicking Here)


If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:

Kevin Garce

Kevin Garce is a Certified Health Coach who encourages people by informing them on blood pressure topics important to them. His years of research and knowledge inspire people to achieve their goals. Read more here About Me

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