I had a doctors appointment this week and my blood pressure was assessed. It was a very healthy, normal 105/70 but it got me to thinking. I wondered how close my bottom number or 'diastolic pressure' was to normal or abnormal and if there was a specific treatment for changing one of the numbers as opposed to the other.
I know that my diastolic pressure has been in the 60s before and though I don't know if that is a good place for it to be, I wondered why it went up.
Turns out that the bottom number is considered healthy or normal as long as it is under 80 and above 60. It is not until the bottom number goes over 90 that one has the diagnosis of hypertension or high blood pressure, but doctors will put a watch on you if your number is over 80. It is likely that a doctor would advise a person who's bottom number was over 80 and under 90 to watch their weight, eat better and to exercise. Of course, a drug company might want that doctor to just go ahead and give you a pill.
The top number, or systolic pressure, is considered safe and normal if it is under 120 (but over 90).
The NHLBI (National Heart Lung Blood Institute) is the most credible source that I know of for information about diagnosis and treatment of heart and lung conditions. On their webpage I found a chart that shows when one is hypertensive by either number.
My goal today was to see if the treatment for diastolic hypertension differed from treatment for systolic hypertension. I could find no evidence of this. What I did learn was that if either number is abnormal, a person is said to have hypertension or high blood pressure and if both numbers are abnormal, the highest value is used to determine what stage of hypertension the patient has. I imagine that the stage is used to inform how invasive and intense the treatment should be. High blood pressure is a risk factor for stroke.
The best way for me to explain about the stages is to show you the chart from the NHLBI. If your number is 120/90 then you have stage one hypertension by the diastolic number. If your number is 160/95 you have stage two based on your systolic.
It is said that following a healthy lifestyle can reduce the chances of becoming hypertensive. A healthy lifestyle, as you know by now, includes not smoking, being of a healthy weight (one in which you have normal blood tests and are not stressing your joints), eating a quality diet (plant based with limits on red and processed meats, add fish and alcohol when appropriate ) and exercising - daily. If you click here, the NHLBI has some helpful information on preventing hypertension in more detail.
[note: people with established high blood pressure must be careful about alcohol use]