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New Recommendations for Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Readings

DIASTOLIC blood pressure-based research results could change the way healthcare professionals treat patients with the high blood pressure. The study, which was carried out by researchers at the National University of Ireland (NUI) Galway, Galway, Ireland, showed that a low diastolic reading on the blood pressure test was not harmful to those who exhibited such results.

This type of blood pressure trend is often observed in older patients. Previous research suggested that the risk of a heart attack begins to increase when the diastolic blood pressure reads anything below 70 or above 90. Lead researcher Bill McEvoy, Professor of Preventive Cardiology, NUI Galway and Consultant Cardiologist, University Hospital Galway, Galway, Ireland, confirmed that the findings from this study had a strong potential to influence patient clinical care.

High blood pressure is associated with diseases of the brain, eyes, heart, and kidney, and is the leading cause of a heart attack. Worldwide, over 1 billion people have been diagnosed with high blood pressure. In the current coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic, high blood pressure has been revealed as one of the most prominent conditions that leads to low recovery rates for patients who have contracted COVID-19.

The observational study assessed data from 47,407 patients, from five different groups with a median age of 60 years. Precautionary measures, using new technology, were taken to ensure that the genetic information in the study was unbiased; this has not been the case in most studies prior. The genetic analysis results showed that there is no lower limit for what is perceived to be a normal diastolic blood pressure reading. Moreover, there was no evidence to prove that diastolic blood pressure could ever be too low, as there was no confirmation of an increased risk of heart disease, despite the diastolic reading being as low as 50, which is lower than the current proposed advice. The authors confirmed that a systolic blood pressure reading above 120 increased the risk of heart disease and stroke.

Professor McEvoy concluded: “Because doctors often focus on keeping the bottom blood pressure reading in the 70–90 range, they may have been undertreating some adults with persistently high systolic blood pressure.”