Isolated Systolic Hypertension

By on September 4, 2012 with No Comments

Isolated systolic hypertension is a situation when the upper pressure reading is above 140 mmHg and the lower reading is less than 90 mmHg. It is a condition in which the systolic pressure is at 140 and the diastolic pressure at 90. This condition is mainly associated with aging. As people age, the blood vessels change and it is these alterations in the vessels, which result to high blood pressure. High systolic blood pressure is a main risk factor for conditions such as stroke and heart attack. 

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Pathophysiology of isolated systolic hypertension

Stiffened aorta has been associated with isolated systolic pressure. Aorta is the main artery, which exits the cardiac and serves as a passage for blood flow to the whole body. When people advance in age, the vessels’ elasticity properties begin to diminish and this means that they are not able to contract and expand easily to allow natural flow of blood.

This is one thing which increases stiffness of the vessels. There is elevated pressure which is created on the walls of the arteries by the flowing blood and this is what leads to increased pressure. The walls of the vessels are unable to absorb the force, which is exerted by the heart’s pumping action. And because the walls are not affected when the art relaxes between beats, this means that the elasticity of the walls does not interfere with the diastolic pressure. Therefore, the diastolic pressure remains fairly normal.

 Causes of Isolated Systolic Hypertension 

Unlike the essential pressure which has no known causes, isolated diastolic pressure is associated with aging and changes in lifestyle, which could contribute to physiological changes of the vessels. When people grow in age, the elasticity of the blood vessels reduces and this impairs the natural constriction and expansion, which allows blood to flow smoothly.

This property may be affected as a person ages. The walls become stiff and do not expand and constrict easily. Systolic hypertension may result from reduced compliance physiology of the blood vessel that draws blood from the heart (aorta) and circulates it to the other parts of the body.

When there is an increased load on the ventricle, this affects the coronary blood flow and could easily lead to hypertrophy on the left ventricle or coronary ischemia. Thyroid gland is an important organ, which helps in the management of metabolism activities of the body.

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When this gland becomes over-reactive, this can lead to increased rate of the heart and consequently to increased blood pressure. Hyperthyroidism is associated with isolated systolic high blood pressure.

Similarly, aldosterone is a hormone, which helps regulate the amount of sodium and the volume of blood in the body. When this hormone is elevated, it also increases systolic pressure. This is associated with isolated systolic high blood pressure. For the secondary hypertension or the elevated blood pressure arising from known causes, aldosterone is a leading cause.

Isolated Systolic Hypertension Symptoms

There are various signs which are associated with isolated systolic elevated blood pressure and these are such as increased headache, vision changes, and heart palpitations and increased nighttime urination.

A person suffering from this condition also experiences normal diastolic blood pressure reading. This is the second or lower reading of the device. It is not mainly affected because the isolated systolic pressure is largely caused by physiological changes of the vessel walls, which may not affect the diastolic pressure. However, the isolated systolic high blood pressure is usually asymptomatic meaning that a patient may not show any signs or symptoms.

 Treatment of Isolated Systolic Hypertension

When treating isolated systolic hypertension, the doctor aims to reduce the extent of damage to the kidneys, heart, and cerebrovascular system. There is urgent need for patients who suffer from this condition to adopt a change in lifestyle. For the treatment to be successful, a patient should be able to adjust his or her lifestyle. One is required to take a diet that is low in sodium and that which is rich in whole grain, vegetables and fruits.

Sodium plays a role in stiffening or hardening of the vessels and this can aggravate the already hardening vessels resulting from aging. Weight loss is also essential in the management of the condition. Patients are advice to increase their physical activity and limit excess consumption of alcohol.

Medication is also helpful in the treatment of isolated systolic hypertension. The treatment of isolated systolic blood pressure with medications may not be easy as the aspect of hypotension is examined. Considering that the diastolic pressure is fairly normal, it means that any attempts of medication, which tries to bring down both diastolic and systolic pressures, then this could lead to other complications.

For instance, the question as to how much of blood pressure should be lowered is an aspect, which creates a lot of concern when treating isolated systolic hypertension. The most disturbing issue is that there are serious implications that are created by low diastolic blood pressures.

Although these can happen naturally such as through atherosclerosis, or as part of the antihypertensive therapy, on the other hand, elderly hypertensives have shown increased risks of stroke when they are given antihypertensive drugs, which can lower the diastolic blood pressure to less than 65 mmHg.

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