Low diastolic blood pressure is when blood pressure between heartbeats is lower than usual. Ways of managing it will be the same as for managing low blood pressure overall. Drinking more water and doing some exercise are two tips that may help.
This article will take a closer look at low diastolic blood pressure, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments.
We will also discuss how a doctor diagnoses the condition.
Finally, the article addresses the outlook for people with low diastolic blood pressure.
Blood pressure readings use two numbers that doctors record in millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). The numbers measure systolic blood pressure and diastolic blood pressure.
Systolic blood pressure is the top number and is the higher of the two. It measures how much pressure the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart beats.
Diastolic blood pressure is the lower number, which shows the pressure the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart rests between beats.
A blood pressure reading will show the systolic blood pressure number first and diastolic blood pressure second. A doctor will assess a person’s blood pressure by considering both numbers.
In most adults, a healthy reading is usually less than 120/80 mm Hg. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is blood pressure that is below 90/60 mm Hg.
Low diastolic blood pressure, or isolated diastolic blood pressure, is when the diastolic blood pressure falls below 60 mm Hg while the systolic blood pressure remains at a normal level.
When the heart rests between beats, the coronary arteries receive and supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. If the diastolic pressure is too low, the heart will not get the blood and oxygen it needs. This may cause the heart to weaken over time.
A person who has low diastolic blood pressure may feel dizzy and tired. They may also fall more often. This can be particularly dangerous in older adults.
Usually, low blood pressure will not cause any issues. Within certain limits, it can be healthy to have low blood pressure. Low blood pressure becomes a problem when other symptoms are present, such as:
Symptoms may subside when sitting down or resting. If blood pressure drops too low, the body’s vital organs will not get enough nutrients and oxygen to function correctly. This could lead to the body going into shock. If this happens, a person should immediately seek medical attention.
Older people who take medications for high blood pressure are at higher risk of experiencing lower diastolic blood pressure.
Some people naturally have lower blood pressure, which causes them no health problems. Other people may experience a drop in blood pressure due to an issue with their health. These issues can include:
Some people may also experience neurally mediated hypotension, where blood pressure drops after they have been standing for long periods.
Low blood pressure can also be due to:
Moving from lying down to standing up can lead to a dip in blood pressure. This may only last for a few seconds.
A dip in blood pressure can also happen to some people after they eat a meal. According to the Journal of Geriatric Cardiology, this mostly occurs in older adults, those with high blood pressure, or people with Parkinson’s disease.
There are numerous treatment options that can help improve low diastolic blood pressure, such as:
- speaking with a doctor about changing certain medications
- wearing compression stockings, which improve circulation
- drinking water to increase blood volume and prevent dehydration
- eating more salty foods or drinking more caffeine to temporarily increase blood pressure
Doctors may prescribe drugs, such as fludrocortisone and midodrine, to treat certain kinds of low blood pressure. However, there are currently no medicines available to treat low diastolic blood pressure.
To determine if a person has low diastolic blood pressure, a doctor will use a sphygmomanometer, a device that straps around the person’s arm, to take a blood pressure reading. A doctor will consider a diastolic reading below 60 mm Hg to be too low.
A doctor can carry out further tests to identify the cause of a person’s low blood pressure, including:
- blood or urine tests
- an electrocardiogram to read the heart’s electrical signals in order to detect the rhythm and any abnormalities
- an echocardiogram to show detailed images of the heart
- a stress test, where a person undergoes heart monitoring while exercising
If the person finds that they faint often, the doctor may use a tilt table test. They use straps to secure the person to the table as it is tilted at different angles to see how the body reacts.
Given that age can be a significant cause of low diastolic blood pressure, it is not always possible for a person to prevent it. However, maintaining a healthy weight, eating a balanced diet, and exercising regularly can help keep blood pressure levels stable, as well as help keep the heart healthy.
There are several lifestyle changes that someone with low diastolic blood pressure can make to manage their condition:
In general, low blood pressure will not cause additional health issues. However, it can increase the risk of falls, which is particularly dangerous for older adults.
Symptoms of heart failure include:
Anyone experiencing more than one of these symptoms should seek immediate medical attention.
Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure that blood applies to artery walls between heartbeats. When diastolic blood pressure is low, the heart receives less oxygen-rich blood between beats.
Changes in diet, exercise, and lifestyle can all help increase diastolic blood pressure.
People with low diastolic blood pressure should visit their doctor regularly. This is to ensure that the doctor quickly finds any new issues that the low blood pressure is causing.