What is diastolic blood pressure? What would cause it to be elevated? Can it be lowered without medication?
Your blood pressure is the measure of the pressure of blood on the arterial walls. When the heart contracts, it pumps blood into the arteries. That is measured as systolic blood pressure and it is the top number in your two number blood pressure reading. The bottom number, diastolic blood pressure, measures the much lower pressure between heartbeats.
Blood pressure greater than 140 over 90 is considered high blood pressure, also called hypertension. When this continues without treatment, it is very dangerous. A normal level for the diastolic reading is below 85, but experts say under 80 is better for your health.
We know of many things that can contribute to hypertension, but we often do not know the exact cause. Please see our category on high blood pressure for more information.
Hypertension can sometimes be corrected without medication, but you need to work very closely with your doctor. When hypertension is in the borderline or high normal range, many doctors do recommend non-drug methods of reducing it. These methods may include weight loss, increased exercise, dietary modifications and stress reduction techniques.