In all patients in whom it has been studied arterial pressure rises with age but systolic pressure rises more than diastolic pressure because arteries become less elastic. Raised systolic and diastolic pressures are both associated with higher cardiovascular mortality at all pressures and at all ages up to about 70.1 Systolic pressures predict risk better in the elderly as well as in middle age.2 The association with stroke and heart failure is much stronger than with myocardial infarction, especially in the elderly.2 However in otherwise healthy people over 70, neither systolic nor diastolic pressures are related to subsequent survival.3
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