Diastolic pressure is the force of blood in the arteries as the heart relaxes between beats. It’s shown as the bottom number in a blood pressure reading.
The diastolic blood pressure has been and remains, especially for younger people, an important hypertension number. The higher the diastolic blood pressure the greater the risk for heart attacks, strokes and kidney failure. As people become older, the diastolic pressure will begin to decrease and the systolic blood pressure begins to rise and becomes more important. A rise in systolic blood pressure will also increase the chance for heart attacks, strokes, and kidney failure. Your physician will use both the systolic and the diastolic blood pressure to determine your blood pressure category and appropriate prevention and treatment activities.
Revision date: June 11, 2011
Last revised: by Janet A. Staessen, MD, PhD