ZocdocAnswersWhat is the relationship between systolicand diastolic pressure?

Question

What is the relationship between systolicand diastolic pressure?

I have high blood pressure and I'm trying to understand the relationship between systolic and diastolic blood pressure. I know that one of my numbers is much more problematic than the other, but I can't remember which, and I don't understand their relationship. Can you explain this?

Answer

On a standard readout of blood pressure, the systolic pressure is the top number and the diastolic pressure is the bottom number. the systolic pressure will always be higher than the diastolic pressure. the numbers themselves correspond to the pressure in the arterial system when the heart is actively pumping blood (ventricular systole and hence systolic pressure) and when the heart is at rest/ filling with blood (ventricular diastole and hence diastolic pressure). high blood pressure is a term that encompasses both high systolic as well as high diastolic bp (either one or the other or both). high systolic blood pressure is most common in older individuals and have been shown is several large studies to directly correlate with adverse events such as heart attack, stroke and death. high diastolic pressure is more common in younger individuals and does not have a direct relationship to adverse events in and of itself. however, isolated diastolic pressure is a risk factor for developing systolic hypertension. there are many effective medications for high blood pressure and you should see your primary care doctor for a discussion on if/ when these medications may become necessary to help reduce your risk of adverse events. hope this helps!

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

If you think you may have a medical emergency, call your doctor or (in the United States) 911 immediately. Always seek the advice of your doctor before starting or changing treatment. Medical professionals who provide responses to health-related questions are intended third party beneficiaries with certain rights under Zocdoc’s Terms of Service.