What is diastolic hypertension?
Diastolic hypertension, where only your diastolic blood pressure is elevated, may be treated with lifestyle changes such as weight loss, reducing your sodium intake or alcohol consumption, and quitting smoking.
In a blood pressure reading, the number on top represents your systolic blood pressure, which is the force exerted by your heart when it contracts. The number on the bottom represents your diastolic blood pressure, which is the force exerted on your arteries when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
Elevated systolic or diastolic pressure is called hypertension or high blood pressure. When only the diastolic pressure is elevated, the condition is called isolated diastolic hypertension. The condition may be a normal consequence of aging or seen in some diseases, such as diabetes mellitus.
What are signs and symptoms of diastolic hypertension?
Diastolic hypertension or general hypertension may or may not cause signs or symptoms. Because of this, it’s important to get your blood pressure checked at least twice a year.
If symptoms do exist, they may include:
How is diastolic hypertension treated?
Your doctor may order blood tests to assess your cholesterol levels, kidney function, etc. to determine the cause of your hypertension. For most people, hypertension is caused by an unhealthy lifestyle. If your increase in blood pressure is mild, your doctor will probably recommend making some lifestyle changes before prescribing medications.
Lifestyle changes include:
- Obesity: Weight gain or obesity (especially abdominal obesity) can cause a rise in blood pressure. Aim to maintain a body mass index between 18.5 and 24.9 kg/m2. If you are overweight, you can try to lose about 2 pounds a week but don’t do more than that.
- Sodium intake: Limit your salt intake to 1,500 milligrams or less per day. Avoid packaged, processed foods because they often contain more sodium.
- Alcohol consumption: Drink alcohol only in moderation. Men should limit themselves to 2 drinks a day and women to 1 drink a day.
- Caffeine: Drinking too much coffee or consuming caffeinated products in excess can contribute to hypertension. If you have high blood pressure, don’t have anything with caffeine just before exercising.
- Smoking: Smoking causes plaque buildup in the walls of your arteries and leads to high blood pressure. Ask your doctor about what can help you quit smoking.
- Exercise: The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends doing about 90 and 150 minutes of physical activity spread throughout the week or at least 30 minutes each day for at least 5 days of the week.
- Medications: Certain medications that can cause an increase in blood pressure include some antidepressants, nasal decongestants, and birth control pills, among others. Talk to your doctor about which medications may be causing your hypertension, and they may change the prescribed medications.
- Stress: Manage your stress by engaging in activities that relax you and make you happy. Listen to music, take a stroll in the park, take up gardening, dance, etc. Deep breathing and meditation may also help reduce blood pressure.
Salt and sodium are the same.
What medications treat diastolic hypertension?
If lifestyle changes do not help lower your blood pressure or if your blood pressure is very high, your doctor may prescribe the following medications to treat hypertension:
- Calcium channel blockers
- Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors
- Water pills or diuretics
- Angiotensin II receptor blockers (ARBs)
What are risk factors for hypertension?
- Age: The risk of hypertension increases with age.
- Sex: Men and women are at equal risk of developing hypertension. But while men are more likely to develop high blood pressure before the age of 55, women tend to develop it after menopause.
- Family history: If someone in your family suffers from hypertension, you are at a higher risk of developing the condition.
- Ethnicity: African Americans seem to be at a higher risk for developing hypertension as compared to other ethnic groups.