It is not possible to reduce diastolic pressure alone. A person with a high diastolic blood pressure will need to lower both their systolic and diastolic total blood pressure. Strategies include weight management, dietary choices, and medication.

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Blood pressure readings take into account two types of blood pressure: systolic and diastolic. Systolic pressure is the force of blood flow when the heart beats. Diastolic pressure is the force of blood flow between heartbeats.

A high blood pressure reading may involve an increase in the systolic pressure, the diastolic pressure, or both.

This article lists 17 tips for lowering blood pressure. It also describes the outlook for people living with high blood pressure.

Below are some lifestyle changes that could help a person manage or reduce their blood pressure.

1. Take blood pressure medications as prescribed

The American Heart Association (AHA) states that people should take their blood pressure medications according to their doctor’s exact instructions. People should never quit or cut back on their medications unless a doctor has advised them to do so.

If a person has difficulty remembering to take their blood pressure medications, they can set up daily reminders, on their phone or other devices.

2. Maintain a moderate weight

Having overweight or obesity increases strain on the heart muscle and can lead to a rise in blood pressure.

The National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI) recommends adults keep body mass index (BMI) between 18.5 and 24.9. If a person’s BMI is too high, they should take steps to reduce their weight.

A loss of just 10 pounds in weight is enough to reduce blood pressure readings in people who have a BMI of 25 or more.

3. Maintaining a healthy weight with cardio

The placement of body fat plays an important role in heart disease. A person who has excess body fat around the waistline is at increased risk of developing heart disease compared to someone who has excess body fat on or below the hips.

Cardiovascular exercises and high intensity interval training (HIIT) are good options for helping to trim the waistline and other areas.

4. Increase exercise

The AHA and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) state that regular physical activity is important for managing blood pressure.

The AHA recommends that people perform at least 150 minutes of physical activity each week. This should include a combination of cardiovascular exercises and resistance training, with resistance training included at least two days a week.

A person should talk with a doctor before starting any new exercise program to ensure they undertake a safe level of physical activity.

5. Quit smoking

Smoking can increase of a a buildup of fatty deposits inside the arteries. Each time you smoke, it temporarily increases your blood pressure.

People who smoke should consider quitting smoking, and everyone should aim to avoid exposure to secondhand smoke.

6. Reduce stress

Stress, anger, anxiety, and other negative mental health conditions are associated with temporary increases in blood pressure and other harmful cardiovascular conditions. As such, people who have high blood pressure should take steps to manage their stress levels.

Learn about ways to manage stress.

7. Get enough sleep each night

During normal sleep, your blood pressure temporarily goes down. Sleep is vital for physical health and mental well-being. A lack of good quality sleep can increase the risk of chronic health conditions, including a possible increase in a person’s blood pressure for a longer period of time.

The exact amount of sleep a person needs will vary. However, the recommendation for adults is 7–9 hours of good-quality sleep each night.

Learn some tips for improving sleep quality.

8. Monitor blood pressure at home

A person can use a blood pressure monitor at home to regularly check their blood pressure.

According to the AHA, people should maintain blood pressure below 120/80 millimeters of mercury (mm Hg). If someone has an elevated systolic or diastolic pressure reading, they should contact their doctor.

9. Try acupuncture

A 2013 study found that acupuncture helped lower blood pressure readings in people who were already taking medications to lower their blood pressure. The authors proposed that acupuncture could be a beneficial add-on treatment for people looking to regulate their blood pressure.

Below are some dietary changes that could help people to manage their blood pressure.

10. Limit alcohol consumption

Drinking too much alcohol can raise blood pressure to an unhealthy level.

If a person drinks alcohol, the AHA recommends that females consume no more than one alcoholic beverage per day and males no more than two per day.

11. Limit caffeine consumption

Older research suggests caffeine in coffee can cause a temporary increase in blood pressure, and this increase is higher in people with high blood pressure.

However, more recently, researchers have suggested that medium-to-high consumption of coffee — 3–5 cups a day — does not adversely affect blood pressure in most people, including those with high blood pressure.

Ultimately, more research is necessary on this topic.

12. Reduce sodium intake

Consuming salt reduces the kidneys’ ability to remove water from the blood. The extra fluid inside the body increases a person’s blood pressure. Excessive salt also lowers the elasticity of arterial walls and can cause a loss of nitric oxide, which also affect blood pressure.

According to a 2019 review, researchers recommend people reduce their total sodium intake to 2 grams (g) or less each day. This should help lower blood pressure and improve the function of veins and arteries.

A person should avoid adding salt to foods and limit foods containing added sodium.

13. Increase potassium intake

Potassium helps reduce blood pressure in two ways: by helping the body release sodium in the urine and by easing tension within the walls of blood vessels.

Foods rich in potassium include:

A person should talk with a doctor before adding extra potassium to their diet. Potassium can harm people with specific conditions, such as kidney disease, or who take certain medications, including blood pressure medications such as ARBs, ACE inhibitors, and spironolactone.

14. Limit saturated and trans fats

The AHA recommends that people limit their daily intake of saturated fats, which should make up no more than 120 calories of a 2,000-calorie-per-day diet.

It is also important to avoid trans fats, which can increase “bad” cholesterol levels while decreasing “good” cholesterol levels. As with high blood pressure, trans fats increase a person’s risk of developing heart disease and stroke.

15. Avoid added sugar

According to a 2022 study, reducing the intake of fructose could help lower diastolic blood pressure. However, more research is necessary to understand how fructose restriction might help people with high blood pressure.

The American Heart Association recommends limiting added sugar in your diet, such as sugar-sweetened beverages.

16. Eat heart-healthy foods

A person who has high blood pressure should focus on eating foods low in saturated fats, trans fats, sugar, and salt.

The Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion recommends that people consume more of the following foods for better cardiovascular health:

The NHLBI recommends the DASH diet for people with high blood pressure. This eating plan helps support heart health by lowering blood pressure and cholesterol.

Learn about the DASH diet.

17. Consider adding probiotics

A 2020 meta-analysis found that probiotic consumption had a statistically significant effect on reducing blood pressure in people with hypertension. Compared with a control group, people who took probiotics experienced a reduction in diastolic blood pressure by an average of -1.51 mmHg.

Consider taking probiotic supplements as part of a heart healthy diet. Be sure to discuss any supplements, including probiotics, with your healthcare professional or dietitian.

The length of time it takes to lower blood pressure will vary from person to person.

Learn more about the time it takes to lower blood pressure.

High blood pressure rarely causes symptoms. People may only discover that they have high blood pressure during a routine visit to a doctor or after developing complications, such as a heart attack or stroke.

Learn more about high blood pressure symptoms.

Below are some commonly asked questions about how to lower diastolic blood pressure.

Can drinking water lower diastolic?

According to a 2020 study, drinking water might reduce a person’s systolic blood pressure but not their diastolic.

Ultimately, more research is necessary to understand the effect of water on diastolic blood pressure.

Is 90 diastolic too high?

A diastolic blood pressure reading of 90 mm Hg or more is high and categorized as stage 2 hypertension by the American Heart Association.

In this case, a doctor is likely to prescribe a mix of blood pressure medications and lifestyle changes.

A combination of medication, lifestyle, and dietary changes can help a person lower their total blood pressure (both systolic and diastolic), which in turn will help lower diastolic blood pressure.

Examples include taking blood pressure medications as prescribed, maintaining a moderate weight, increasing physical activity, managing stress, limiting alcohol consumption, reducing sodium intake, and increasing potassium intake.

People can visit a doctor for a routine blood pressure check. Alternatively, they can ask a doctor for advice on how to measure their blood pressure at home.

If a person’s efforts to lower their blood pressure are ineffective, they should consult a doctor for further guidance.