Many people refer to diastolic blood pressure as the lower number of their blood pressure reading. For some people diastolic may be considered low and nothing needs to be done other than monitoring. For others, it may cause additional issues requiring treatment. You may be thinking, what are low diastolic blood pressure treatments?
The following are low diastolic blood pressure treatments:
- Change in medication
- Lower salt intake
- Avoid excess alcohol
- Physical activity
- Maintaining a healthy weight
- Don’t smoke
- Closer health monitoring
I’ll dive into each treatment in detail and explain how it can make a difference. In addition, how these treatments may differ from treatments for general low blood pressure. There are some differences especially when it comes to salt which you’ll want to know.
Low BP Tip: Home monitoring is a necessary component of your blood pressure plan. The home monitor I recommend automatically downloads your measurements on your cell phone. Bring it with you to your physician appointments and show the doctor the list of your readings. Or email the readings to them ahead of time straight from your cell phone. Check out the monitor and my review post by clicking right here.
Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Treatments
1. Change in Medication
For years doctors were lowering blood pressure on people with high blood pressure aggressively. While their high blood pressure was under control, people were experiencing symptoms of low blood pressure. Getting dizzy or falling down was a result of lowering blood pressure too much.
Some high blood pressure medications can cause low blood pressure. Alpha blockers or central acting anti-hypertensive agents may lower diastolic blood pressure more than it does for systolic. If this is happening, the physician may change to a different high blood pressure medication or lower the dosage of the medication.
You may be wondering, what’s wrong with low blood pressure, isn’t that what we desire? Well yes and no. If it gets too low, it can be as dangerous as high blood pressure.
Low diastolic blood pressure has been associated with heart failure, damage and heart attacks 1. In addition, a study published in 2018, showed a connection in patients with coronary disease and low diastolic blood pressure. When diastolic BP was below 70-80 mmHG, there was an increase in angina risk 2.
2. Lower Salt Intake
One of the causes of low diastolic blood pressure is stiffening arteries. As you age, arteries become less flexible which typically raises systolic and lowers diastolic pressure. By trying to retain some flexibility of the blood vessels, can help keep low diastolic pressure higher.
One of the better ways to accomplish non-stiffening arteries is to lower salt intake. Salt intake has been linked with the elasticity of blood vessels. The more salt consumed, the less flexible blood vessels are. While conducting studies, adding salt to the cells of the blood vessel lining caused them to stiffen up immediately 3.
The recommended dietary salt intake per day is between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. This may differ depending on a person’s age or medical condition. Ideally, the typical amount is approximately 3.6 grams per day. Most people consume between 9-12 grams per day. The World Health Organization estimates 2.5 million deaths world-wide could be prevented if salt consumption was lowered to the recommended amount 4.
For those of you who may be wondering how much is 3.6 grams of salt. You’ll be disappointed to find out, it equals not even one teaspoon, 0.72 teaspoons. How can anyone accomplish that? One way is the topic of the next section which is nutrition.
The low diastolic salt recommendation differs from some low blood pressure treatments. There are times when a physician may increase a person’s sodium intake when their blood pressure is low. When diastolic is low and systolic is normal or higher, an increase in salt can raise systolic even more 5.
In addition to battling high blood pressure with your daily nutrition, a proper diet can benefit low diastolic blood pressure 6. A balanced nutrition plan can help stabilize weight and blood pressure. What kind of nutrition plan is recommended? The following are some tips and guidelines:
- Eat fruit and vegetables every day.
- Avoid processed foods like hot dogs, deli meats, sausages, bacon and boxed food.
- Lower unhealthy fat intake like fatty red meats.
- Avoid unhealthy, refined carbohydrates like white flour, sugar, cakes, cookies, pasta and soda.
- Eat fruits and vegetables.
- Consume complex carbs like brown rice, oatmeal, whole grains and sweet potatoes.
- Eat healthy fats like avocado, olive oil, all natural nuts and eggs.
- Consume skinless chicken and health fish like wild-caught salmon.
In addition to nutrition, drink plenty of water because dehydration can cause blood pressure to stay low 7. The Food and Nutrition Board recommends 15 glasses of water for men and 11 glasses for women per day 8.
5. Avoid Excess Alcohol
Too much alcohol can dehydrate your body. It acts like a diuretic and in the short-term your body will lose fluid. In addition to the decrease in blood pressure from dehydration, excess alcohol may cause many other health issues not beneficial for you 9.
The CDC recommends no more than two drinks a day for men and one drink a day for women 10.
6. Physical Activity
Physical activity every day is beneficial for your health and maintaining proper blood pressure. The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends about 150 minutes or 2.5 hours per week 11. That’s about 20 minutes per day which is what I prefer. The following are their recommendations:
- Get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity or 75 minutes per week of vigorous aerobic activity, or a combination of both.
- Spread it out through the week.
- Add moderate to high-intensity muscle strengthening activity on at least two days.
- Increase health benefits by increasing physical activity to 300 minutes per week.
The following is considered moderate-intensity aerobic activity:
- Brisk walks
- Tennis (doubles)
- Bicycle riding (under 10 miles per hour)
The following is considered vigorous-intensity aerobic activity:
- Swimming laps
- Hiking uphill
- Aerobic dancing
- Heavy yard work
- Tennis (singles)
- Faster cycling (10 miles per hour or faster)
- Jumping rope
If you’re new to being active start off slowly and set reasonable goals while slowly increasing the amount of minutes per week. The easiest way to start is by walking and it can done almost anywhere, even standing in place!
7. Maintaining a Healthy Weight
A great way to accomplish this is by following the nutrition and physical activity advice just given. Always ask your physician for a safe weight loss exercise and nutrition plan prior to making your own changes. A healthy weight can help maintain proper blood pressure levels.
8. Don’t Smoke
Did you know cigarette smoke is a toxic mix of more than 7,000 chemicals? The smoke can affect many things in your body and make it function abnormally. When inhaled, these chemicals can damage your heart and blood vessels 12.
9. Closer Health Monitoring
In addition to the above, your physician may want to see you more often in the office. More visits and monitoring can help your doctor identify the signs of cardiovascular disease or heart failure symptoms 3.
In addition to office monitoring, it would be beneficial for you to monitor your blood pressure at home and report the results to your doctor. The home monitor I use and recommend automatically downloads my measurements to my cell phone and stores them there. I can show my doctor those results or send them to him by email straight from the BP app.
If you want to learn more about those features, check out the monitor in my blog post review, Welch Allyn Home 177 Series Blood Pressure Monitor Review.
If you found this Blood Pressure topic interesting check out these related blood pressure articles also found in this same website:
- Low Blood Pressure Symptoms – Signs of Low Blood Pressure You Don’t Want
- When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency: Call 911
- Causes of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Low Diastolic Blood Pressure as a Risk for All-Cause Mortality in VA Patients
- National Center for Biotechnology Information: Low Diastolic Blood Pressure is Associated with Angina in Patients with Chronic Coronary Artery Disease
- The University Of Alabama At Birmingham: Diastolic blood pressure: How low is too low?
- World Health Organization: Salt Reduction
- Hackensack Meridian Health: Can Salt Help Improve Low Blood Pressure?
- National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: Low Blood Pressure
- Oxford Academic: Acute and chronic effects of hydration status on health
- The American Heart Association: We all need water for a healthy life – but how much?
- Cleveland Clinic: Dehydration
- CDC: Frequently Asked Questions
- The American Heart Association: Recommendations for Physical Activity in Adults and Kids
- FDA: How Smoking Affects Heart Health