High Systolic Blood Pressure - When The

Heart Beats

Let me tell you, don't let words like 'high' systolic blood pressure bother you. As mentioned everywhere in this site, gradually introduce healthier ways of doing things. Step by step introduce a new way of life. If however you wish to read on about 'high systolic blood pressure', you may do so here...

It may surprise you to know that the two numbers given to you when you have your blood pressure taken mean different things.

A higher than normal systolic blood pressure is not good news.

The larger number which is called the ‘systolic’ measures the force exerted on the walls of the blood vessels during a heartbeat. This is when the heart pumps blood around the body, which will have more force and naturally will be higher.

The Dangers of Isolated Systolic Hypertension

If only the systolic and not the diastolic was too high, the patient would have a condition referred to as Isolated Systolic Hypertension, or ISH. If you thought diastolic and systolic pressures went hand in hand, this may be a surprise. In fact, Women’s Health Magazine published a report about isolated systolic hypertension as the most common type of high blood pressure in those above 60.

This is because both forms of blood pressure gradually increase with age, however, the diastolic stops increasing around the mid-50’s, while the systolic does not. If your systolic blood pressure rises higher than 140 – whether the diastolic is high or not – you should immediately speak to your GP. Just like other types of high blood pressure ISH is not helpful if it is not treated or lowered and can lead to heart complications and further organ damage. Fortunately, IS also shares beneficial treatment with other forms of high blood pressure and can be simply reduced with lifestyle and dietary changes or prescribed medication.

High Systolic Blood Pressure: Good or Bad?

The obvious answer to this question must be that it’s bad for you. It’s true that high blood pressure is almost never a good thing, but a high systolic reading can alert doctors to a number of things.

The National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute have cited medical research that suggests the systolic blood pressure is the most accurate marker of whether a patient needs to be treated for high blood pressure.

Patients beyond middle age with a high systolic reading were particularly likely to suffer the effects of high blood pressure, so a high systolic is bad news!

However, a recent BBC report explained findings that systolic blood pressure can also be used to estimate the chances of seriously ill patients with weak hearts surviving in hospital. Doctors were able to predict the mortality risk of a patient based on their systolic blood pressure level.

    Based on their systolic readings, research showed that patients had differing percentage chances of dying in hospital:
  • Below 120 systolic = 7.2% risk of mortality
  • Between 120 and 140 = 3.6% risk
  • Above 1.7% = 1.7% risk

Unfortunately, this is just a silver lining to a dark cloud when it comes to high systolic pressure! Unless you’re on the edge of heart failure, a high systolic is not a good thing. To reduce it or keep it low: eat healthily, exercise and try to cut down on your cholesterol and salt intake.

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