Blood pressure measures the force or pressure in your arteries when your heart beats.
Normal blood pressure for an adult is considered to be 120/80. The first number, 120, represents systolic blood pressure. Systolic blood pressure measures the force with which the heart pumps blood around the body. The second number, 80, represents diastolic blood pressure. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure in your arteries between heartbeats, when your heart relaxes and fills with blood. A diastolic blood pressure below 60 is considered to be low.
Maintaining normal diastolic blood pressure is important for heart health. This is the conclusion of research studying the effects of low diastolic blood pressure on heart disease. The study followed 11,565 American adults about every 5 years for 21 years. The average age of participants at the beginning of the study was 57 years. Blood pressure and levels of blood troponin, a marker of heart damage, were measured at each visit.
The results showed people with diastolic blood pressure below 60 mm Hg had more heart disease and death than participants with diastolic blood pressures above 70 mm Hg. People with diastolic blood pressure between 70 and 100 mmHg had no additional risk of heart disease or heart damage.
The heart is a pump that provides the force needed to move blood around your entire body and return it back to the heart. When diastolic blood pressure is low, there is not enough force to move blood through the heart. The heart senses it does not receive adequate oxygen and nutrients and releases troponin, an indicator of heart damage.
To maintain a healthy heart, keep your diastolic blood pressure above 70 mm Hg. Keep a record of your blood pressure and ask your doctor any questions you may have.
Tips to adopt a heart-healthy lifestyle and maintain a healthy blood pressure:
- Monitor blood pressure regularly
- Take blood pressure medication as prescribed
- Exercise regularly
- Eat fish twice a week
- Eat a low salt diet
- Reduce sugar consumption
- Maintain a healthy body weight
- Limit alcohol intake
- Do not smoke
- Learn more about Low Levels of Diastolic Blood Pressure Linked to Heart Damage Risk
- Read the abstract of the original study: Diastolic Blood Pressure, Subclinical Myocardial Damage, and Cardiac Events
- Learn more about Talking with Your Cardiologist
- Subscribe to our blog to stay informed about heart health