What does high systolic & low diastolic pressure mean?

Written by heather monroe
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What does high systolic & low diastolic pressure mean?
Blood pressure within normal ranges (Image by Flickr.com, courtesy of Andreas D.)

Normal blood pressure ranges from below 140mm HG systolic and 70 to 90mm HG diastolic. A high-top number, or systolic number, and a low bottom, or diastolic, number indicates a condition called isolated systolic hypertension (IHS).


Your doctor can achieve diagnosis when your systolic blood pressure is consistently higher than 140mm HG and your diastolic number remains low.


There are no symptoms associated with isolated systolic blood pressure. However, the condition is a symptom of other underlying diseases such as leaky heart valve and hyperthyroidism.


The highest risk group for isolated systolic blood pressure includes people over the age of 50. Unresolved isolated systolic blood pressure can lead to stroke, heart disease and dementia.


Diuretics are prescribed to treat all forms of high blood pressure. The National Institute on Aging recommends a healthy, low-sodium diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables to combat ISH.


Patients with ISH must monitor their blood pressure. Treatment for ISH can cause the diastolic number to drop dangerously low, posing the risk of heart attack. The Mayo Clinic advises ISH patients to keep the diastolic number between 70 and 80 to prevent this complication.

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