Isolated systolic hypertension and aging

Q: I am 88 years old and in very good health. The only medication I take is the awful one for high blood pressure. My blood pressure reading is in the area of the l60’s for systolic and in the 50’s for diastolic. What do you think?

A: As a normal part of aging, systolic pressure goes up and diastolic pressure goes down. We now know that systolic hypertension, when only the top number is elevated, is a risk factor for heart disease and stroke and should be treated. Hypotension, or low blood pressure, is not a concern unless it causes symptoms such as dizziness or fainting.

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