Low diastolic, high systolic blood pressure a dangerous combination

(Deseret News) — High blood pressure has long been linked with bad heart outcomes. But research just released from the University of Alabama at Birmingham indicates that older adults with a low diastolic (the bottom number) and a high upper number face greater odds of developing new-onset heart failure.

The findings are published in Hypertension, a journal of the American Heart Association.

The association describes heart failure as a weakened heart muscle that can no longer pump hard enough to provide adequate blood to the body’s cells. It notes that symptoms include fatigue and shortness of breath and trouble with everyday activities.

With heart failure, the heart muscle can’t pump adequate blood to meet the body’s needs for blood and oxygen. It tries to compensate by enlarging so it can pump more blood, growing thicker muscle mass and pumping faster. The blood vessels try to be helpful, too, narrowing to keep blood pressure up. And the body diverts blood to the heart and brain, since they are the most vital organs, but that shorts the supply needed by other tissues and organs. Eventually, it can’t mask what’s happening, but sometimes people do not know for months or even years that their hearts are failing because of those masking “helps.”

Blood pressure is a mathematical formula that looks at the pressure exerted on vessels when the heart is beating “over” the pressure in blood vessels between beats — 120/80 is considered optimal.

The researchers coined the term “isolated diastolic hypotension” to describe a condition where the diastolic or between-beat pressure is less than 60 mm Hg and the systolic blood pressure is not low, measured at above 100 mm Hg. The researchers said it’s similar to a condition called isolated systolic hypertension, when the systolic blood pressure alone is elevated (above 140 mm Hg), but the diastolic is not elevated. That is common in older adults and it, too, increases the risk one will experience heart failure.


1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (9 votes, average: 4.56 out of 5)
Loading ... Loading ...