Concern about a spread between high diastolic and low systolic.

Q: I am 57 years old female and I have had hypertension for several years. 2 years ago my grandson died and I had heart failure. I was diagnosed with broken heart syndrome and spent eleven days in ICU at the heart institute. I have fully recovered but continue to take medication for my high blood pressure. My question concerns why there is such a spread in my pressure readings. Typically the systolic number ranges from 154 to as low as 130, however the Diastolic reading can range from 70 down to 53. I am curious as to why the top number is still on the high side and the bottom number is on the low side.

A: Your blood pressure readings suggest you have systolic high blood pressure. This is the type of high blood pressure that is more common as people get older. Blood pressure medicines lower both numbers. The trick in treating systolic high blood pressure is to lower your systolic pressure without causing too low of a diastolic pressure. Your readings demonstrate this problem.

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