The force of blood pumped through the arteries, and the flexibility and size of the arteries determines blood pressure. Each time the heart beats, it pumps blood into the arteries. Two numbers are recorded to accurately measure the pressure of blood: Systolic blood pressure measures the pressure during heart contraction. Diastolic blood pressure measures the pressure during heart relaxation. There are many causes of high diastolic blood pressure; these risk factors relate to diastolic and systolic blood pressure elevations.
Some medical conditions increase the risk of high diastolic blood pressure and high blood pressure in general. Prehypertension, the condition in which blood pressure levels are slightly elevated, raises the risk of developing high blood pressure. Prehypertension blood pressure levels involve a pressure of 80 to 89 mm Hg for diastolic and 120 to 139 mm Hg for systolic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Diabetes, the chronic condition that affects the body's production or usage of insulin by the pancreas, results in increased sugar levels in the blood. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention states that 60 percent of diabetics also have high blood pressure.
Even though uncontrollable risk factors for developing high blood pressure exist, behavioral factors, such as maintaining an irregular diet with a high level of cholesterol and salts, and lack of physical activity and exercise are major causes of high diastolic readings. Obesity is perhaps the most significant cause of high diastolic blood pressure, and smoking and alcohol are also contributing factors to a high diastolic reading. A low sodium diet, weight within the normal body mass index, regular exercise and abstaining from alcohol or tobacco consumption can lead to a decrease in blood pressure. Unfortunately, the behavioral changes can involve addictions, such as food, alcohol and smoking addictions. A change in these behavioral factors could require appropriate planning and addiction counseling.
Risk factors of high blood pressure include age, race or ethnicity, diabetes and family history. As a person ages, the blood pressure tends to increase. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, a person who is black has an increased risk to developing high blood pressure. Unfortunately, a gene that leads to developing high pressure exists. The presence of this gene, combined with poor behavioral choices, could lead to high blood pressure.
Although uncontrollable risk factors exist, a healthy lifestyle may reduce this risk. Eating a low sodium diet may have an immediate affect on blood pressure levels. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends a daily limit of 2,300 mg of sodium. If a person belongs to an at-risk group, then the limit reduces to 1,500 mg of sodium per day. In addition, moderate physical activity of about 30 minutes per day helps prevent high blood pressure. There are many other ways to prevent high blood pressure. Therefore, discovering personalized risk factors and monitoring one's condition may result in early detection, control and prevention.