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A look at diastolic blood pressure
Aggressively lowering high systolic blood pressure (the top number) can reduce the risk of heart attack and stroke. But how significant is the diastolic (bottom) number?
When it comes to managing blood pressure, doctors tend to focus on lowering the top (systolic) number, and for good reason.
"It’s been well established that aggressively treating high systolic pressure can help lower one’s risk for a heart attack or stroke," says Dr. Stephen Juraschek, a blood pressure specialist at the Hypertension Center of Harvard-affiliated Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.
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About the Author
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch
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An alarming one in three American adults has high blood pressure. Known medically as hypertension, many people don't even know they have it, because high blood pressure has no symptoms or warning signs. But when elevated blood pressure is accompanied by abnormal cholesterol and blood sugar levels, the damage to your arteries, kidneys, and heart accelerates exponentially. Fortunately, high blood pressure is easy to detect and treat. In the Special Health Report, Controlling Your Blood Pressure, find out how to keep blood pressure in a healthy range simply by making lifestyle changes, such as losing weight, increasing activity, and eating more healthfully.
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