What Causes Isolated Systolic Hypertension?
In most cases, there is no specific cause of isolated systolic hypertension. Factors that can increase a person's risk of developing this condition include:
- Being older
- Being overweight
- Having diabetes
- Being a Caucasian male or an African American.
It's important to remember that these risk factors are not causes of isolated systolic hypertension in and of themselves. Many people with isolated systolic hypertension have no risk factors, while there are plenty of people with these risks factors who do not develop isolated systolic hypertension.
(Click Causes of High Blood Pressure for more information on this topic.)
As with other types of hypertension, most people with isolated systolic hypertension don't have any high blood pressure symptoms -- isolated systolic hypertension doesn't cause problems over a day or weeks or even months. Usually, it takes several years for high blood pressure to cause noticeable symptoms. People with isolated systolic hypertension typically don't even realize they have it until they have a systolic blood pressure reading that is too high.
Isolated systolic hypertension can only be diagnosed after taking multiple readings to find your average blood pressure. To find your average blood pressure, your blood pressure needs to be taken two or more times, and each reading must be from a different day. If the average of the systolic blood pressure readings is more than 140, you have isolated systolic hypertension.
A single systolic blood pressure reading of more than 140, however, doesn't necessarily mean that you have isolated systolic hypertension. But your doctor will probably want to monitor your blood pressure over a certain period of time to see if it stays there.