Diastolic blood pressure is the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes between beats. It is the bottom number of a blood pressure reading. There may be cause for concern if diastolic blood pressure rises above 100 mmHg, as high diastolic blood pressure increases an individual’s risk for heart attack and stroke. Fortunately, by making some simple lifestyle changes, you can often reduce the risk of high blood pressure or lower diastolic blood pressure that is already high without relying on the use of medication.
How to Reduce Diastolic Pressure
Know your risk factors. Age, smoking, drinking alcohol in excess, consuming too much caffeine, being overweight, stress, and a family history of high blood pressure are all common factors that can increase your risk for high blood pressure. Many people develop high blood pressure at some point as they get older. Although heredity can play a part, people who are obese are candidates for high blood pressure. Stress may not actually be the cause of high blood pressure, but being under constant tension can keep blood pressure from returning to normal levels.
Have your blood pressure checked often if it tends to run high. Individuals with high blood pressure often experience no symptoms. A diastolic blood pressure less than 80 is considered to be ideal. Health care professionals consider a pressure between 81 and 90 to be borderline. A diastolic blood pressure reading higher than 90 is regarded as high.
Eat a well balanced diet that includes plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables along with other foods rich in calcium, potassium and vitamin C. A study published in the Nutrition Journal found that high levels of ascorbic acid might help to lower diastolic blood pressure. Including low-fat dairy foods and whole grains in your diet helps to keep that blood pressure reading down as well.
Reduce your overall sodium intake and avoid foods high in saturated fats and cholesterol. Eating foods with too much salt adds more fluid to blood, causing blood pressure to rise. According to the 2005 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, most Americans tend to eat too many salty foods. The more sodium a person consumes, the higher his or her blood pressure is likely to be. Do not keep salt on the table. Use less salt in cooking by reducing the amount by one-third and then by one-half.
Get plenty of exercise. You benefit both by losing weight and lowering your blood pressure. Physical activity makes your heart stronger, too. As a result, it can pump more blood throughout the body with less effort. This places less force against the walls of arteries, lowering blood pressure. In many cases, if individuals exercise regularly, they do not need medication to lower blood pressure. At least 30 minutes of aerobic activity most days is good for your body and your blood pressure.
Lose weight. If you weigh in at more than 30 percent of your ideal weight, it’s time to shed some pounds. People who are overweight have more blood volume in their bodies so the heart must work harder to pump blood. The American Association of Kidney Patients warns that being overweight puts a person at higher risk for kidney disease, which interferes with the body’s ability to regulate sodium and fluids. But for every pound you lose, your diastolic blood pressure will drop one point.