High diastolic blood pressure: causes, symptoms and prevention

Several factors contribute to high diastolic blood pressure. While a person can control some, such as obesity, others are not preventable.

Doctors describe blood pressure using two numbers: systolic and diastolic. They present a reading with the systolic number appearing above the diastolic number. Systolic measures the pressure during the contraction of the heart, while diastolic is the pressure between heartbeats. People give a lot of importance to the systolic value. However, each increase of 10 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg) in diastolic pressure in 40-89 year olds doubles the risk of heart disease or stroke.

Doctors define isolated diastolic hypertension, high diastolic blood pressure, as being above 80 mm Hg. in people with normal systolic blood pressure.
This article discusses the common causes of diastolic hypertension and the risks associated with it and how to prevent hypertension.

Main causes

If a person has hypertension, they experience an increase in systolic and diastolic blood pressure. However, high diastolic blood pressure occurs in isolated diastolic hypertension (HDI). Doctors classify stage 1 HDI as diastolic blood pressure of 80-89 mm Hg. They classify stage 2 HDI as diastolic blood pressure above 90 mm Hg.

HDI is uncommon and accounts for less than 20% of hypertension cases.

Doctors do not understand why an individual can develop diastolic hypertension. They suggest narrowing of the arterioles is the cause, due to hormones in the body.

Common causes of isolated diastolic hypertension include:

– endocrine disorders
– renovascular disorders
– Sleep Apnea

A study has demonstrated the link between severe sleep apnea and diastolic hypertension.

However, potential and preventable causes of HDI also include:

– Obesity

Doctors generally associate hypertension with obesity. However, they also associate overweight and obesity with hypertension with HDI.
To reduce the risk of HDI, a person can take steps to achieve a moderate weight through diet and exercise.
If he finds it difficult to change his diet or increase his physical activity, a doctor can suggest other weight management options.

– Alcohol consumption

A few studies show that alcohol consumption contributes to the HDI.
To help prevent high blood pressure, in men, be sure to have no more than two alcoholic drinks a day and women no more than one alcoholic drink a day.

– Smoking

Studies link smoking to the HDI. For example, a study in China found that in people aged 90 and over, current or past smoking increases diastolic blood pressure.

– Triglycerides

High triglycerides or blood fats are another potential cause of IDH that doctors also associate with other health risks. When these blood fats are elevated, they lower “good” HDL cholesterol. If individuals have high blood triglycerides and high “bad” LDL cholesterol, it increases their risk of heart disease and stroke. It is possible to reduce blood triglyceride levels by changing your diet. For example, a Mediterranean-style diet high in fatty fish, fruits, vegetables, and whole grains can help lower blood triglycerides.

Diastolic hypertension risk factors

There are certain risk factors for diastolic high blood pressure that one cannot control.

These include in particular:

– Age: Diastolic hypertension is common in people under 50 years of age. It is rare in older adults.
– Family history: Having family members with hypertension increases the risk of IDH in an individual.
– Cardiovascular events: If an individual has suffered an incident that damaged the heart muscle, this increases their risk of IDH.
– Diabetes: People with diabetes and high blood sugar levels are more likely to develop HDI.
– Hypothyroidism: About 30% of people with low thyroid hormone levels have IDH.
– Kidney disease: People with chronic kidney disease may also have IDH.
– Biological sex: In a large 2019 study of nearly 2.5 million participants, researchers found that the prevalence of HDI was significantly higher in men (4.5% of the total population) than among women (2.2%).

Health risks

If an individual has normal systolic blood pressure, a drop in diastolic blood pressure can affect blood flow regulation in the brain and lead to stroke. According to one study, researchers have associated HDI with increased blood pressure and an increased risk of subsequent cardiovascular events.
HDI increases a person’s risk of suffering from various health problems, including the following

– heart disease
– heart attack
– heart failure
– aneurysm
– atrial fibrillation
– peripheral arterial disease

Symptoms of High Diastolic Blood Pressure

Often, high diastolic blood pressure does not cause noticeable symptoms. A large 2019 study found that many people were unaware they had HDI. Of 2,351,035 participants, 3.2% had HDI. More than 86% were untreated, and only 10.3% of these people were aware that they had high blood pressure. The common belief that high blood pressure causes sweating, flushing of the face, or feeling jittery is a myth.

However, a person should see a doctor urgently if they experience the following symptoms. These could indicate a serious complication of HDI, such as a heart attack or stroke:

– chest pain
– breathing difficulties
– stunning
– sudden onset of weakness
– speech changes
– loss of consciousness


Some people can prevent the onset of high diastolic blood pressure by avoiding tobacco, alcohol, reducing blood fats, and maintaining a moderate weight. In other cases, certain uncontrollable factors, such as biological sex, family history, and living with diabetes, can cause a person to be unable to prevent high diastolic blood pressure.

* Presse Santé strives to transmit health knowledge in a language accessible to all. In NO CASE, the information given can not replace the advice of a health professional.

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