Causes of High Diastolic Blood Pressure

By Paul Favors

  • Overview

    The force exerted by blood when passing through the arteries is called blood pressure. It comes in two readings: systolic and diastolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure is the first reading you get from a sphygmomanometer which represents the pressure exerted against the arterial walls when the heart contracts. The second and bottom number is the diastolic pressure which represents the pressure exerted when the heart is resting in between heart beats. Normally, hypertension occurs whenever both systolic and diastolic pressure goes above the normal reading. However, it was found out that isolated high systolic and diastolic blood pressure also poses danger to a person's body. Below you'll find specific information regarding the causes and implications of having high diastolic blood pressure.
  • Significance

    The normal blood pressure rate is 120/80 mmHg. As you can see, diastolic blood pressure is always lower than the systolic rate. When diastolic blood pressure registers a rate of 90 mmHg or higher while the systolic rate remains normal, you should expect other signs of diastolic hypertension. The dangers of having high diastolic blood pressure still depend on various factors such as age, weight, diet, and physical activity. This is why it is important to find out the exact causes of high diastolic blood pressure by relating the findings with other symptoms. Most of the time, getting a reading from the sphygmomanometer is not enough. For this reason, a pulse rate is also measured by physicians in order to determine if high diastolic blood pressure can be severe for a patient.
  • Effects

    When diastolic blood pressure fluctuates 10 mmHg notches higher than the normal rate, it may cause adverse effects on blood circulation which may later result to stroke, heart attack as well as kidney and heart failure. High diastolic blood pressure is one of the usual symptoms of heart attack and stroke among young and middle-aged adults. Seniors are less likely to develop complications from high diastolic blood pressure as they are more prone to acquire systolic hypertension. Recent studies show that diastolic blood pressure predicts adverse health effects on people ages 50 years old and below although it is not to say that diastolic hypertension only happens to those belonging in this age group.


  • Considerations

    It is widely accepted in the medical field that normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. However, recent studies conclude that various factors may affect blood pressure reading. This proves that normal blood pressure may still vary in terms of the person's age, diet, physical activities and overall lifestyle. If your diastolic blood pressure reading is higher than the normal rate, it is best to consult a physician to better diagnose your condition. Too much stress caused by the fact that you had a high diastolic blood pressure reading according to your home sphygmomanometer might even cause your blood pressure to rise.
  • Prevention/Solution

    Complications that arise from diastolic hypertension may be prevented through lifestyle modification coupled with prescribed medication. Factors that must be regulated to keep your blood pressure within the normal rate include regular exercise, diet, alcohol and other substance abuse as well as relaxation. Treatment for diastolic hypertension involves various types of medication depending on the symptoms. Most of these are prescribed by a specialist. Diuretics or water pills are prescribed to those who suffer from kidney complications. These are known to flush out toxins, excess sodium and water from the body. Beta-blockers are known to normalize heart beats by reducing nerve impulses to the heart and blood vessels. ACE inhibitors prevent the production of angiotensin II hormones which narrows down the blood vessels. In turn, this medication relaxes blood vessels to normalize blood flow.
  • Warning

    The usual misconception about hypertension is that it is only dangerous when both systolic and diastolic blood pressure rises. Recent studies suggest that high diastolic blood pressure---although not the sole predictor of heart and kidney failures---must be taken seriously. High diastolic blood pressure is known to reduce pulse pressure which is also a predictor of cardiovascular diseases.
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