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|Pay attention to your systolic pressure!|
Recent studies have demonstrated the importance of the top number -- your systolic blood pressure. In fact, the systolic pressure may be a better indicator of your risk for heart disease and stroke than the bottom (diastolic) pressure, especially for people over the age of 50.
The American Heart Association stresses the importance of lowering your systolic pressure.
When only the top (systolic) number is elevated, doctors call this isolated systolic hypertension (ISH). The condition becomes increasingly common as people age. A person has ISH if the top reading is higher than 140 while the bottom reading is less than 90.
In most people with ISH, the problem is either ignored or only partially treated.
When you go to the doctor, be sure to ask about both your systolic and diastolic blood pressure readings. If your blood pressure is too high, talk to your doctor about making some lifestyle changes and whether medication is necessary.
Treatment of high blood pressure should begin early to prevent organ damage. A growing number of young people have ISH -- and both young and old benefit greatly from early treatment.
If you have ISH, here are some points to consider:
Reviewed By: Steven Kang, MD, Division of Cardiac Pacing and Electrophysiology, East Bay Arrhythmia, Cardiovascular Consultants Medical Group, Oakland, CA. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.