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Women's Health

Diastolic Hypertension After Pregnancy

06/21/2010

Question:

I am a 31 year old female and at the end of my 2nd pregnancy I developed diastolic hypertension. I had HELLP Syndrome as well with this pregnancy. I was on BP meds for about 4 months and was able to go off. BP was in normal range most times that it was taken by my doctors and myself. It has now been almost 2 years and I decided to check my BP recently. Now diastolic is usually 89-93, systolic is normal 115-120. I exersize, eat healthy, don`t smoke. Is there anything I can do to lower my diastolic reading?

Answer:

You are wise to be watching your blood pressure, as elevated levels (systolic > 140 or diastolic > 90) over time are associated with an increased risk for heart disease and stroke.
According to the 7th Report of the Joint National Committee on Prevention, Detection, Evaluation, and Treatment of High Blood Pressure (JNC 7), a diastolic blood pressure of 80-89 is considered “pre-hypertension” and 90-99 is Stage 1 hypertension. So, our diastolic blood pressures are falling between those two categories. Recommendations for both is “lifestyle modifications” which is defined below:

Adoption of healthy lifestyles by all persons is critical for the prevention of high BP and is an indispensable part of the management of those with hypertension. Major lifestyle modifications shown to lower BP include weight reduction in those individuals who are overweight or obese, adoption of the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) eating plan which is rich in potassium and calcium, dietary sodium reduction, physical activity, and moderation of alcohol consumption. Lifestyle modifications reduce BP, enhance antihypertensive drug efficacy, and decrease cardiovascular risk. For example, a 1,600 mg sodium DASH eating plan has effects similar to single drug therapy. Combinations of two (or more) lifestyle modifications can achieve even better results.

Physical activity is defined as “regular aerobic physical activity such as brisk walking (at least 30 minutes per day, most days of the week). Information on the DASH diet is found at the web link below. 

If you are doing the above, and your diastolic pressures are consistently above 90, then more than likely you will need treatment with an antihypertensive. That would be something you would want to discuss with your family physician.

Related Resources:

Your Guide to Lowering Blood Pressure

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Response by:

W. Fred Miser, MD W. Fred Miser, MD
Associate Professor of Family Medicine
Director of Ohio State Medicine Residency Program
College of Medicine
The Ohio State University