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What is Diastolic Hypertension?

Stephanie B. Mojica
Stephanie B. Mojica

Diastolic hypertension, or high diastolic blood pressure, is a potentially serious health concern, especially among people who are overweight and the elderly. The diastolic pressure is the lower number of a blood pressure monitor reading and is the measure of the blood pressure when the heart is at rest. Ideally, a diastolic blood pressure reading should not exceed 90. All people with high, untreated diastolic hypertension risk suffering from heart attacks, strokes, blindness, diabetes and potential organ failure.

A normal diastolic reading might eliminate a potential diastolic hypertension diagnosis, but this doesn’t necessarily mean that the individual's blood pressure is in a fully healthy range. Some people suffer from general hypertension or systolic hypertension, which is high blood pressure when the heart pumps and is indicated when the first number in a blood pressure reading is higher than 140. Monitoring both blood pressure readings — especially for people who are overweight, smoke or are more than 55 years old — is a critical step to ensure a person's medical well-being.

Older men are at an increased risk of hypertension.
Older men are at an increased risk of hypertension.

No type of high blood pressure, including diastolic hypertension, has a guaranteed cure, but it is possible to reduce the symptoms and thus the chances of serious illnesses such as heart attack or stroke. Losing weight, getting regular exercise, eating less sodium and discussing blood pressure lowering medications with a doctor are all possible remedies for people with high blood pressure. Some diastolic hypertension patients notice significant relief of their symptoms simply by eating more fruits and vegetables and less sodium. Other patients must lose some of their excess body weight and take prescription diuretics to lower their blood pressure. Patients who smoke should stop immediately, because tobacco use markedly increases the chances of having a fatal heart attack or stroke because of diastolic hypertension.

Many medical professionals recommend that people with hypertension limit salt in their diet.
Many medical professionals recommend that people with hypertension limit salt in their diet.

In some cases, a doctor might recommend prescription medications that directly affect the way the heart pumps blood. There are many viable options for medically treating diastolic hypertension. The medications that are used include beta blockers, such as metoprolol; calcium channel blockers, such as amlodipine; and angiotensin II receptor blockers, such as losartan.

Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to diastolic hypertension.
Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to diastolic hypertension.

Whatever method a doctor recommends for treating diastolic hypertension, it might not work as well without diet and exercise changes. Even 30 minutes of moderate exercise each week can go a long way toward reducing one's diastolic hypertension. Putting down the salt shaker and checking prepared foods for sodium content are additional essential steps toward reducing one's diastolic blood pressure.

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    • Older men are at an increased risk of hypertension.
      By: Rob
      Older men are at an increased risk of hypertension.
    • Many medical professionals recommend that people with hypertension limit salt in their diet.
      By: Ruslan Kudrin
      Many medical professionals recommend that people with hypertension limit salt in their diet.
    • Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to diastolic hypertension.
      By: Pixinoo
      Prolonged periods of physical inactivity may contribute to diastolic hypertension.
    • African Americans have an increased risk of hypertension, particuarly among adults who are older than 50.
      By: michaeljung
      African Americans have an increased risk of hypertension, particuarly among adults who are older than 50.