Because systolic blood pressure rises more sharply than diastolic blood pressure for those middle aged and beyond, leading to an increasing prevalence with advancing age of elevated systolic blood pressure without elevated diastolic pressure, i.e. so-called pure systolic hypertension, the question arises as to whether or not factors that have been shown to be related to blood pressure and hypertension are related to pure systolic hypertension or to 'classical' hypertension, i.e. hypertension defined solely by the level of the diastolic pressure. This question was examined in four Chicago epidemiologic studies by examining the associations between several variables and pulse pressure, with pulse pressure redefined so that the association between a variable and pulse pressure indicated whether the variable was more strongly related to systolic or diastolic blood pressure. In these four studies, glucose, heart rate and cigarette use tended to show a stronger association with systolic pressure, suggesting a possible association with pure systolic hypertension, while hematocrit, serum cholesterol, and uric acid tended to be more strongly associated with diastolic pressure, or equally associated with systolic and diastolic pressure, suggesting an association with 'classical' hypertension. Relative weight tended to be more strongly associated with systolic pressure under the age of 35 and more strongly associated with diastolic pressure after age 45.
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