The increase in pulse pressure (PP) that occurs with advancing age is predominantly due to reduced arterial distensibility leading to decreased aortic compliance, particularly in the elderly, in whom high blood pressure mainly manifests as isolated systolic hypertension. Since age-related changes in stroke volume are minimal compared with changes in PP, PP is often considered a surrogate measure of arterial stiffness. However, since PP is determined by both cardiac and arterial function, a more precise and reliable means of assessment of arterial stiffness is arterial pulse wave velocity (PWV), a parameter that is only dependent on arterial properties. Arterial stiffness as measured by PWV has been found to be a powerful pressure-related indicator for cardiovascular morbidity and mortality. We analyzed PP and PWV in men and women of various age groups in healthy volunteers as well as cardiac patients with different types of diseases. The findings identified several striking sex-specific differences which demand consideration in guidelines for diagnostic procedures, for epidemiological analysis, and in evaluation of therapeutic interventions.