Maintaining normal blood pressure is crucial for our health and well-being. It is an indication that we are healthy. It is also a sign that vital organs such as the heart are performing well, pumping oxygen and all the nutrients throughout the body. Problems with blood pressure aren’t uncommon and the most common nowadays is hypertension. However, low diastolic blood pressure is also a health concern that can cause various problems. Read through and learn more about this condition.

A Brief on Blood Pressure

Blood pressure is defined as a measure of the force of blood against the walls of the arteries while your heart pumps blood through the circulatory system. It is measured in millimeters of mercury (mmHg) and represented as two figures.

The first figure represents systolic blood pressure i.e. the pressure when the heart pushes blood out. It indicates the pressure on the arteries when the heart is beating. The second figure represents diastolic blood pressure or the pressure when your heart rests between beats. It tells the pressure in the arteries when the heart is at rest.

Normal blood pressure is less than 120/80 mmHg[1]. Elevated blood pressure is when the systolic value is between 120 and 129 and diastolic blood pressure is less than 80. High blood pressure is when systolic value is between 130 and 139 and diastolic blood pressure ranges from 80 to 89 or higher. Both systolic and diastolic values can fluctuate.

As mentioned above, high blood pressure is a common problem for people. However, it is worth noting that low diastolic blood pressure is also a health concern.

Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Overview

Low diastolic blood pressure, also known as isolated diastolic blood pressure, is when the diastolic (second) reading drops below 60 mmHg while the systolic blood pressure (first) reading remains normal.

When taking blood pressure, physicians tend to focus on systolic readings only, and diastolic blood pressure is often overlooked[2]. Most arteries feed your organs during systole. This occurs when the heart does its work to pump out blood. Diastole, however, happens when the heart relaxes after a contraction which occurs during systole.

To be more precise, when your heart rests between beats, coronary arteries supply the heart with oxygen-rich blood. If your diastolic reading is too low, it means the pressure in the coronary artery is also low and the heart might not get the blood and oxygen it needs to function properly. If not treated immediately, this occurrence could weaken the heart significantly.

For most people, the aim is to be normotensive - this is having normal blood pressure. Hence, you should seek proper treatment if you are hypertensive, more so if you have low diastolic blood pressure. Below are the things you need to watch out for if you think you are the latter.

What Are The Symptoms Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure?

Low diastolic blood pressure symptoms vary in severity. They usually include:

  • Lightheadedness or dizziness: a drop in diastolic blood pressure can decrease the flow of blood to the brain. As a result, you may experience dizziness[3], lightheadedness, or vertigo (spinning sensation). These low diastolic blood pressure symptoms tend to be more pronounced when standing up quickly.

  • Fatigue: lowered diastolic blood pressure may contribute to a sense of tiredness or fatigue as the body struggles to maintain proper blood flow to meet its energy demands.

  • Difficulty concentrating: inadequate blood flow to the brain could lead to brain fog or poor concentration.

  • Blurry vision: decreased blood flow to the eyes can lead to blurred vision. This condition might impair or affect your daily activities.

  • Syncope (fainting): in severe cases, isolated diastolic blood pressure can lead to a sudden loss of consciousness or fainting. This happens when the brain doesn’t get enough blood and oxygen.

In addition to the abovementioned low diastolic blood pressure symptoms, this problem could also manifest symptoms such as dehydration, confusion, cold or clammy and pale skin, rapid or shallow breathing, headache, palpitations, and depression. Symptoms of low diastolic blood pressure may subside when a person sits down or rests.

What Causes Low Diastolic Blood Pressure?

There are various low diastolic blood pressure causes and some of them include:

  • Medications: blood pressure medications[4] such as alpha-blockers can lower blood pressure. These medications work by dilating blood vessels and keeping them relaxed. If you are taking these medications for the first time, however, you might have low blood pressure and you may experience dizziness or fainting spells. Besides these, certain antidepressants, diuretics, and medications for erectile dysfunction are also among the medications related to low diastolic blood pressure causes.

  • Aging: The natural aging process can also lead to isolated diastolic blood pressure due to the loss of elasticity in the arteries. In some cases, the arteries become too stiff to spring back following a heartbeat, thus lowering diastolic blood pressure.

  • Prolonged bed rest: If you stay in bed for a very long time, it might lead to a reduced tone of the arteries. As a result, your diastolic blood pressure becomes impaired too.

  • Dehydration: insufficient fluid intake or excessive loss of fluid (e.g. through sweating, vomiting, and diarrhea) can reduce blood volume thereby resulting in lower diastolic blood pressure[5].

  • Hormonal imbalances: endocrine disorders such as adrenal insufficiency[6] or thyroid dysfunction can impair blood pressure regulation.

  • Heavy menstrual flow: prolonged monthly periods may cause excessive blood loss, which may have a temporary effect on blood pressure and other symptoms.

How is Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Treated?

At the moment, there is no specific doctor-recommended low diastolic blood pressure treatment. There is no medication that your doctor can prescribe to treat isolated diastolic blood pressure specifically.

If you have low diastolic blood pressure and also take an alpha-blocker, your healthcare provider may prescribe a medication that does not cause low diastolic readings. It is very crucial to always get the proper advice from your doctor to ensure that you are taking the right treatment for your condition.

The best approach in taking a low diastolic blood pressure treatment is to identify the causes. Various factors can affect diastolic blood pressure, not just medications. Knowing the underlying causes will also help you manage your condition well.

For example, if low diastolic blood pressure causes are attributed to dehydration or hormonal imbalances, then consider increasing your water intake or finding treatment to balance your hormones. Always consult a doctor regarding hormonal imbalances. You may also want to consider the natural way of managing your hormones. In addition, vomiting and excessive sweating may also cause dehydration. By drinking plenty of fluids during the day, you will be able to address these conditions easily.

Understanding the low diastolic blood pressure causes should help you manage this condition.

You may also need to make some lifestyle changes to address low diastolic blood pressure. Lifestyle changes are key to preventing and treating your problems with diastolic blood pressure.

Prevention of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

The good news is that there’s a lot you can do to prevent low diastolic blood pressure symptoms or manage them when they occur. The best strategies are described below.

1. Change your diet and exercise

The food you eat has a major impact on your blood pressure. Ideally, you should keep your salt intake to 1500-2300 mg daily. Read labels thoroughly to avoid consuming too much salt. Excessive salt intake would put you at a higher risk for hypertension.

Avoid or reduce consumption of heavily processed, sugar-laden, and high in trans fats foods. Your diet should be heart-healthy and should contain plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, fiber, and lean protein.

When changing your diet, you should also strive to drink plenty of fluids. Consume healthy fruit beverages and other electrolyte-rich liquids such as sports drinks. Of course, water is also essential.

Regular exercise is an excellent low diastolic blood pressure treatment and prevention method. Being sedentary is not very healthy. Physical activity exhibits a positive effect on cardiovascular health and helps normalize your blood pressure. Ideally, you should get around 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise a week.

You can modify exercise by monitoring your blood pressure and adapting the workout routine accordingly. Since it’s possible for exercise to lower diastolic blood pressure, you should do milder-intensity activities when your blood pressure is lower[7].

2. Maintain a healthy weight

A healthy weight is crucial for our health and wellbeing. Changes in our weight can contribute to various health problems. They can also affect blood pressure. For that reason, maintaining weight within a healthy range is a good way to treat and prevent the lowering of diastolic blood pressure. Normal body weight helps normalize your blood pressure too.

3. Manage stress

Chronic stress can affect blood pressure due to higher levels of stress hormone known as cortisol. Evidence confirms that stress is strongly connected[8] to anxiety. When you’re stressed out and anxious, you may hyperventilate and sweat. This can lower your diastolic blood pressure.

To prevent or manage isolated diastolic blood pressure, you should be proactive when managing stress and anxiety. Practice relaxing techniques such as meditation and yoga. Engage in creative activities such as reading and writing. Taking long walks will also help you calm your nerves. With proper stress and anxiety management, you can prevent problems with diastolic blood pressure.

4. Reduce or avoid caffeine

For most people, the go-to low diastolic blood pressure treatment or prevention strategy is to drink coffee. This might not be the wisest idea though. Caffeine can temporarily increase your blood pressure. Hence, excessive consumption of caffeine could lead to fluctuations in blood pressure. Plus, caffeine tends to act as a diuretic that makes you want to go to the bathroom frequently. This can contribute to dehydration, which leads to low diastolic readings.

5. Get a good night's sleep

You might want to consider sleep-inducing strategies if you are not getting enough sleep. Insufficient sleep can disrupt the body’s natural blood pressure regulation. It is essential to get seven to nine hours of sleep every night.

6. Take medication

If you have an isolated low diastolic blood pressure due to specific medical conditions or medications, you should consult your healthcare provider. Your condition might call for a modification in your medications to manage your symptoms and prevent future health problems. Moreover, you should take your medications promptly and accordingly. Inform your doctor if you believe your medications are giving you adverse effects.

7. Use supplements

Dietary supplements are a good choice for prevention of diastolic blood pressure problems. They contain natural ingredients that keep your blood pressure within a normal and healthy range. For example, Vazopril Blood Pressure Support Supplement is specifically formulated to normalize blood flow and thereby support healthy blood pressure.

8. Get a massage

Massage helps you relax and is an excellent self-care treatment for people who are stressed out and anxious. Plus, it promotes healthy blood flow. Good circulation is crucial for normalizing blood pressure.

Complications of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

When left unmanaged, isolated diastolic blood pressure can lead to several complications such as:

  • Higher risk of falls: sometimes a drop in diastolic blood pressure causes dizziness and fainting. This increases the risk of falling which could cause injuries such as head trauma and fractures.

  • Heart damage: isolated diastolic blood pressure can lead to heart damage and or heart disease. It can also be associated with[9] heart attack, stroke, and heart failure.

  • Impaired kidney function: when your diastolic blood pressure is low, the reduction in blood flow affects the kidneys' ability to filter waste products from the blood. This can lead to kidney dysfunction over time.

Frequently asked questions

How do you increase diastolic blood pressure?

You can increase diastolic blood pressure by adding electrolyte-rich foods to your diet. Exercising regularly and managing your stress and anxiety are very useful in normalizing your blood pressure. You should also consult your doctor about the medications if you’re experiencing side effects. Modifying dosages could help increase diastolic blood pressure.

What affects low diastolic blood pressure?

Various factors affect isolated diastolic blood pressure including medications, dehydration, hormonal imbalances, and even the natural aging process.

Is low diastolic blood pressure an emergency?

Lowered diastolic blood pressure isn’t always an emergency, but it can indicate underlying problems and you shouldn’t ignore it. If you get a very low reading on your diastolic blood pressure and if you’re experiencing rapid breathing, weakness, rapid pulse, and if your skin is turning blue, cold, and sweaty, you must seek emergency treatment immediately.

Can low diastolic blood pressure cause a stroke?

Lowered diastolic blood pressure may increase[10] the risk of stroke because it reduces blood flow to the brain. However, this is a complicated issue. Not everyone with isolated diastolic blood pressure will develop a stroke.

Bottom line

This post mainly focuses on low diastolic blood pressure, its causes, symptoms, and treatment. A drop in diastolic blood pressure stems from various causes such as medications and the aging process. Further, this condition manifests through various symptoms. While there is no specific medication for this problem, understanding the condition, lifestyle changes, taking the necessary supplements, and regular visits to your medical doctor should help you manage this condition well.



Dr. Ahmed Zayad

Dr. Ahmed Zayad

Dr. Zayed, has years of experience in the field and has been contributing to public health awareness. Dr. Ahmed Zayed holds a baccalaureate of Medicine and Surgery. Egypt. Dr. Zayed believes in providing knowledgeable information to readers. His articles were featured on many websites like HuffingtonPost, Chicagotribune . Other than his passion for writing, Dr. Zayed spends his time outside the hospital, either reading or at the gym.

Written by Dr. Ahmed Zayad

More stories

Exercises for Better Posture: Back to Perfection!

Your posture is your power. Good posture reduces back pain, eases discomfort, and increases energy. Whether you're new or a veteran of the world of...