Hypertension Risk Factors

Isolated Systolic Hypertension-Causes, Diagnosis and Cure

Isolated Systolic Hypertension is a medical condition in which is the systolic blood pressure is elevated (>140) but the diastolic blood pressure of the body remains normal (<90).

Is It Benign or Does It Pose A Risk To Life?
It was previously thought that Isolated Systolic Hypertension was a part of the ageing process and did not have any serious consequences for the health of a person. However, thorough research carried out across the world suggests that the problem may not be benign and can pose serious threat to the life of a person.

The observed complications emerging in people suffering from Isolated Systolic Hypertension include complications such as left coronary ischemia, ventricular hypertrophy, and/or heart failure.

How Is Isolated Systolic Hypertension Caused?
It is suspected that the primary cause of systolic hypertension may be ageing. As the body ages the aorta of the heart is not able to keep up with the blood pressure being exerted by the heart muscles. The result of this noncompliance is an increased load on the ventricle.

Further, it has been observed that low plasma volumes and low levels of aldosterone and renin are found in older patients suffering from hypertension. What is also observed is the fact that amount of renal salt released in the blood is also less. As a result, older patients develop sensitivity to these salts. All these and other factors combine together to subsequently jeopardize the coronary blood flow in older patients.

Can It Be Treated?
The answer to the above mentioned question is "Yes". The main method of treating Isolated Systolic Hypertension is all about bringing a few changes in the lifestyle of the patient. A major part of this life change is a diet which is low on sodium but is all full of vital eatables such as fruits, whole grains, and vegetables. Researches have indicated that weight loss, increased physical activity, and limiting alcohol consumption also help in treating Isolated Systolic Hypertension.

Apart from these life style changes it also becomes imperative to use medications to delay and/or reduce the extent of damage to the heart and the cerebrovascular system. Two randomized controlled trials have been conducted and their results indicate that the threat of heart attack to the elderly can be minimized.

* SHEP Trial: This trial showed a reduction of three strokes per 100 patients when these patients were treated with chlorthalidone for five years.

* Syst-Eur Trial: Yet another instance of randomized controlled trial, the results obtained in it indicated a reduction of 0.3 strokes per 100 patients when they were treated with nitrendipine for a median follow-up of two years.

The verdict of these trials is that treating a systolic blood pressure of 140, as long as the diastolic blood pressure is 68 or more, can be safely attained.