Diastolic blood pressure: a key indicator of brain health risks

Credit: Unsplash+

A recent study led by Michelle R. Caunca at the University of Miami has revealed a significant link between diastolic blood pressure and the risk of brain lesions, which are potential indicators of serious health issues like dementia, stroke, and falls.

Blood Pressure: More Than Just Numbers

The study delves into the roles of systolic and diastolic blood pressures. Systolic blood pressure indicates the force exerted when the heart beats, while diastolic pressure measures it when the heart is at rest.

A diastolic reading above 80 is generally considered high, based on the American College of Cardiology and AHA guidelines.

Diastolic Pressure and Brain Health

The research, involving over 1,200 participants aged 50 and above, focused on the connection between diastolic blood pressure levels and white matter lesions in the brain, observed through MRI scans.

These lesions are areas of scarring that can disrupt brain communication, increasing the risk of cognitive decline, strokes, and physical instability.

Key Findings

Individuals with lower diastolic blood pressure (below 80) had fewer white matter lesions.

Contrary to previous studies linking high systolic pressure to these lesions, this study highlights the importance of diastolic pressure.

People with diastolic pressure over 90 showed more significant brain lesions in crucial areas.

White matter lesions are common in older adults, with up to 20% of people aged 60 having them, rising significantly in those over 90.

This research emphasizes the need to monitor diastolic blood pressure closely, as it has a direct impact on brain health.

This study underlines the importance of understanding individual blood pressure readings and their implications.

It encourages patients and healthcare providers to pay close attention to diastolic pressure, not just the systolic readings, for a comprehensive assessment of cardiovascular and neurological health risks.


The University of Miami’s study presents a crucial insight into how diastolic blood pressure can be a predictor of brain health issues.

It advocates for a more detailed blood pressure analysis to prevent or mitigate risks associated with brain lesions and related health problems.

If you care about blood pressure, please read studies about Changing blood pressure readings is a hidden sign of heart disease and the findings of Scientists shows switching blood pressure drugs may treat the condition better.

For more information about nutrition, please see recent studies about the connection between potatoes and high blood pressure,  and results showing why turmeric is a health game-changer.

Copyright © 2023 Knowridge Science Report. All rights reserved.