What Causes High Diastolic Blood Pressure?

What Causes High Diastolic Blood Pressure?

High blood pressure is a serious health problem that commonly affect people over the age of 50 years. It also leads to multiple cardiovascular health problems including cardiac dysfunction, stroke and vasculo-endothelial conditions.

While individuals describe high blood pressure, they often refer to systolic blood pressure and the diastolic blood pressure is not much considered in the picture of hypertension.

Diastolic blood pressure is the measure of pressure in the arteries while the heart is resting i.e., not pumping blood into the arteries in during that fraction of second. Diastolic hypertension, or high diastolic blood pressure, is a significant threat to cardiovascular health. It is crucial to understand the causes of high diastolic blood pressure to plan effective prevention strategies or management.

Diastolic Hypertension – What are its Causes?

Diastolic hypertension is significantly elevated diastolic blood pressure. Enlisted below are the causes of high diastolic blood pressure backed by scientific studies and conventional medicine.

  1. Family History of Hypertension

Genetics have a critical role in the determination of course of high blood pressure that also includes high diastolic blood pressure. Individuals with early onset diastolic hypertension often has familial history of the condition, such that their parents or other close relatives in the family tree must be affected by hypertension.

Genes define and decide the structure and function of the body. Genetics determine and regulate the function of the arteries and manage the mechanisms of vascular resistance and fluid balance between the intravascular and extravascular compartments of the body. Individuals with family history of hypertension often has distortion in these mechanisms that continue to run in the families. It leads to thickened or narrow arteries or arterioles, distorted fluid balance and increased vascular resistance that led to early onset high diastolic blood pressure.

  1. Genetic Syndromes

Syndromes are often based on a group of diseases or symptoms of varying degrees from disorders of the various organ systems. Genetic syndromes, such as Liddle Syndrome, is a genetic condition that mainly affects the kidneys. Liddle Syndrome forces the kidneys to retain excess sodium and water that accumulates in the intravascular compartment (blood vessels) and cause high diastolic blood pressure. Upon diagnosis of this rare syndrome, health professionals often advise and prescribe the use of antihypertensive medications (medications used to lower the high blood pressure) to prepare for the inevitable situation of diastolic hypertension.

  1. Age and Gender Demographics

Age is an important factor that determines the dynamics and course of blood pressure. High diastolic blood pressure is often associated with younger age while high systolic blood pressure is associated with older age. The shift from diastolic to systolic occurs because arteries undergo wear and tear as an individual’s age advances. With increasing age, arteries often lose it elasticity and become stiffer and thicker that are the contributing attributes of high systolic blood pressure.

In younger individuals, high diastolic blood pressure occurs mostly due to increased vascular resistance in the small arteries and arterioles. This causes pressure to build up in the destination organs and tissues that manifests as diastolic hypertension.

Gender also plays its role in diastolic hypertension such that it predisposes male gender to experience this condition rather early than in the female demographics. The gap of diastolic blood pressure readings between male and female group reduces as the age advances such that both genders are equally predisposed to hypertension (systolic) as their age increases over 50 years.  

  1. Lifestyle and Behavioural Preferences

Lifestyle factors and the daily behavioural preferences are the major contributing factors to an individual’s high diastolic blood pressure.

Consuming a diet high in sodium is a major contributing factor to diastolic hypertension. Foods that have high sodium but low potassium along with minimal essential nutrients cause buildup of elevated pressures in the blood vessels. These electrolytes imbalance cause excessive retention of water in the blood after the sodium content in the body is increased, causing significant increase in diastolic blood pressure. Low levels of potassium are incapable of regulating the sodium levels thus allowing it to buildup itself and the water alongside, causing high diastolic blood pressure.

Lack of exercise and having minimal physical activity creates sedentary lifestyle that makes way for rapid weight gain and obesity. Obesity causes increased vascular resistance in the end organs and increases the load on the heart that is unable to meet the perfusion needs. These mechanisms lead to increased diastolic blood pressure and cause cardiovascular health impairment.

  1. Stress and Psychological Status

Individuals experiencing chronic stress and deteriorating mental health are now commonly identified as potential contributors to the increasing cases of high diastolic blood pressure. Increased stress causes the physiological mechanisms to trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline.

Persistent and frequent release of these hormones and chemicals constricts the blood vessels along with increasing the heart rate that burdens the heart and elevates the diastolic blood pressure. Long-term stress also has adverse impacts the physiological mechanisms involved in the regulation of blood pressure and management of its undulating levels.

Moreover, individuals with anxiety and depression also experience sudden increase in their blood pressure that is partly due to their lifestyle adaptations, emotional imbalances and their poor physiological response to stress.

  1. Chronic Health Conditions and Ailments

High diastolic blood pressure also occurs at the expense of chronic health conditions or comorbidities, that is irrespective of age and gender.

The mechanism of blood pressure regulation is mainly based in the kidney, that has sensitive receptors to certain chemicals in the blood and cause raise in blood pressure when these chemicals are increased upon signalling from related physiological changes. This discussion signifies the importance of the role of kidneys in management of hypertension. Thus, health conditions and disorders that involve kidneys also affects the blood pressure regulation, thereby causing high diastolic blood pressure.

Diabetes is another chronic condition that unleash high blood sugar on the end organs. This high sugar also damages the blood vessels and impairs the endothelial wall by increasing the oxidative stress. The dysfunction of vascular walls cause impairment in effective dilation and relaxation during diastole, causing high diastolic blood pressure.

Thyroid health disorders such as hypothyroidism and hyperthyroidism often cause elevated diastolic blood pressure. Hypothyroidism is the most common thyroid disorder that result in high diastolic blood pressure.

  1. Medications and Substance

Individuals taking medications for certain health conditions are often informed beforehand that they may experience high diastolic blood pressure as a side effect of these medications.

NSAIDs, Nonsteroidal Anti-inflammatory Drugs, is a widely consumed group of drugs to relieve chronic pain. These medications include ibuprofen and naproxen that cause fluid retention in the long run. As the fluid builds up, it leads to elevated diastolic blood pressure.

Nasal Decongestants, such as pseudoephedrine, is commonly used to provide relief from stuffy nose in cases of common cold or flu. These medications are known to exert its effect by constricting the blood vessels, causing raise in diastolic blood pressure.

Stimulants, that includes caffeine, prescribed medications to treat mental health conditions and recreational drugs. These stimulants are known to increase the heart rate and cause increase in diastolic blood pressure.

  1. Hormonal Factors

Hormones and their regulatory mechanisms also affect the mechanism of blood pressure regulation. Hormonal imbalances in the hormones mentioned below often cause high diastolic blood pressure.

Cortisol is an adrenal hormone that is often released in response to increased stress. Individuals experiencing chronic stress or having high serum cortisol due to hormonal disorders such as Cushing’s syndrome has increased diastolic blood pressure.

Aldosterone is released when the physiological mechanisms seek for electrolyte balance, such as that in sodium and potassium. Individuals experiencing hyperaldosteronism has excessive retention of sodium and water that causes high diastolic blood pressure.

  1. Sleep Quality

Ensuring a healthy amount of good sleep is a step towards prevention of high diastolic blood pressure. It is a common finding among individuals experiencing poor sleep that they have elevated blood pressure readings. The poor sleep may be due to a variety of causes such as lifestyle, stress, insomnia, mental health conditions or factors related to the surroundings of an individual. Getting enough sleep is beneficial for the overall health since the body enters restoration process during sleep, trying to manage the endured stress of the day and prepare for the next. In such case, if one fails to attain enough sleep then it leads to stress buildup and hence high diastolic blood pressure.

  1. Environmental Impacts

Environment has direct influence on an individual’s living and overall lifestyle. Individuals living in a natural environment with minimal noise and air pollution experience minimum stress. Whereas those living in an environment that has toxic air pollution and other stressors such as noise often cause chronic frustration and stress. These environmental impacts result in high diastolic blood pressure in people living in such communities. Moreover, certain locations are deprived of the nutritious food that also increases the risk of elevated blood pressure.

What are the Prevention Strategies and Management Plans of High Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Prevention and management of high diastolic blood pressure must require a multi-faceted approach. Lifestyle modification is the first and foremost step to prevent elevated blood pressure. These changes and modifications include taking a diet that is low in sodium, loaded with essential nutrition and contain ample amounts of potassium. It is also important to increase physical activity by including regular exercise in the routine. Individuals that are overweight must follow diet plans and exercise to reduce their weight in a healthy fashion. It is also important to avoid smoking, limiting alcohol intake and reduce the stress levels. Individuals must educate themselves with stress reducing techniques such as yoga, meditation and counselling.

Medications are often advised for individuals that have severe hypertension or one that can not be controlled rapidly with lifestyle changes and stress management techniques. These medications include antihypertensives such as ACEI (angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors), diuretics and calcium channel blockers. These medications and the dosage vary from an individual to another based on age and severity of hypertension. 

Healthcare professionals also aim to treat the underlying health conditions that must have caused the high diastolic blood pressure such as hyperaldosteronism, hypercortisolism, obesity and diabetes.

People Also Ask

Can dehydration lead to high diastolic blood pressure?

Yes, dehydration can be a cause of high diastolic blood pressure. When the body lacks enough water, the blood flow to the kidney reduces and result in constriction of these blood vessels. As these blood vessels constrict, they meet high end organ resistance that led to high diastolic blood pressure. Moreover, dehydration also cause the release of hormones such as vasopressin and angiotensin that also narrows the blood vessels and cause high diastolic blood pressure.

How often should an individual monitor their blood pressure?

Diastolic blood pressure must be monitored regularly and particularly in those with previous history of high blood pressure or other cardiovascular risks. Individuals who are diagnosed cases of hypertension must monitor their blood pressure once per day to get an accurate investigation of their fluctuations and the course of treatment taken. For individuals who are not diagnosed with hypertension but have risk factors such as obesity, diabetes and cardiovascular disorders must monitor their blood pressure at least once every month or during their regular health checkups. Early detection of elevated blood pressure helps in rapid and timely management with lifestyle modifications or medications.

Conclusion

Diastolic blood pressure is the measure of pressure in the arteries while the heart is resting i.e., not pumping blood into the arteries in during that fraction of second. Diastolic hypertension, or high diastolic blood pressure, is a significant threat to cardiovascular health. Individuals with early onset diastolic hypertension often has familial history of the condition, such that their parents or other close relatives in the family tree must be affected by hypertension. High diastolic blood pressure is often associated with younger age while high systolic blood pressure is associated with older age. The shift from diastolic to systolic occurs because arteries undergo wear and tear as an individual’s age advances. Gender also plays its role in diastolic hypertension such that it predisposes male gender to experience this condition rather early than in the female demographics. Lifestyle preferences such as taking diet high in sodium and minimal physical activity also increases an individual’s risk of high diastolic blood pressure. Increased stress causes the physiological mechanisms to trigger the release of cortisol and adrenaline that cause hypertension. Use of medications and substance including NSAIDs, caffeine and nasal decongestants cause vasoconstriction and result in hypertension. It is also a common finding among individuals experiencing poor sleep that they have elevated blood pressure readings. Prevention and management of high diastolic blood pressure must require a multi-faceted approach that include lifestyle modifications, medications and monitoring and reducing the stress levels.

 

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