Ask the Cardiologist: Diastolic BP vs. Systolic BP

systolic blood pressureDr. Maciej Malinski is on the medical staff at Sherman Hospital. He has been kind enough to answer some frequently asked questions related to maintaining a healthy heart. Look for additional heart information from Dr. Malinski in the coming weeks.

Q: What does it mean when you have high diastolic blood pressure versus high systolic blood pressure? Should a person worry about elevated diastolic and if so how can they reduce it?

For a long time, guidelines and clinical practices have put greater importance on diagnosis and treatment of diastolic blood pressure (DBP) levels. Similarly, over the past 20 years we have seen increased evidence for the importance of treatment of systolic blood pressure (SBP).

The link between SBP and risk of stroke, heart attack, kidney dysfunction is much stronger than for DBP. This interaction is especially among older patients. Younger patients (less than 40 years of age) tend to have diastolic hypertension, and patients over 40 predominantly have systolic hypertension.

In accordance with current guidelines, as well as in clinical practice, we measure and treat both systolic and diastolic blood pressure and aim for the recommended ideal of <140/85 mm Hg. The treatment of diastolic blood pressure generally is the same as systolic. The recommendations include reduction of salt intake, aerobic exercise, limiting alcohol intake, and if needed, medications.

Do you have a question for Dr. Malinski? To submit your question, either post it in the comments section below or email with the subject line “Question for Dr. Malinski.” For more information on heart health, click here to visit Sherman’s Heart and Vascular Center.

This post is published by Sherman Health to provide general health information. It is not intended to provide personal medical advice, which should be obtained directly from your physician.

About Sherman Health

Sherman Health has provided medical care to Northern IL since 1888, and is currently home to a network of over 600 physicians. The Sherman blogs are edited by me, Luke. Questions? Comments? Links? Email address is luke at shermanhealth dot com.
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One Response to Ask the Cardiologist: Diastolic BP vs. Systolic BP

  1. Roman R says:

    Some days my BP is 135/95 HR 74, others its 155/80 HR 90, (both upon waking).

    I’m on 10mg calcium channel blocker.

    What could cause a shift from high diastolic to isolated high systolic?


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