Low blood pressure or hypotension causes people to feel dizzy and weak or even makes them faint. Although many people strive to have lower blood pressure than the one they usually have, and others feel dizzy because of the low blood pressure only from time to time, the condition of low blood pressure can sometimes be very dangerous i.e. if the case is severe, it can be life-threatening.
Blood pressure differs from person to person. However, generally a blood pressure 90/60 is considered low blood pressure
The causes for low blood pressure can vary greatly, from dehydration to serious medical and surgical disorders. Low blood pressure can be treated, but it is important to discover the reason so the proper treatment can be conducted.
Low blood pressure can be a sign of underlying medical condition especially if the blood pressure becomes lower suddenly or some of the following symptoms are experienced:
- Lack of concentration
- Blurred vision
- Pale and cold skin
- Rapid and shallow breathing
In many cases, low blood pressure won’t be a serious condition. Dizziness or weakness can only be signs of minor problems such as dehydration after spending too much time in a hot tub or on the sun. Anyway, it is important to visit the doctor for a checkup or have the blood pressure monitored regularly because the symptoms can also be sign of more serious problems.
Blood pressure is known when the pressure in the arteries is measured during the action and the pause of each heartbeat. The blood pressure measurement consists of two numbers, for instance 90/60, 120/80, 140/90; The first number in the blood pressure reading is systolic pressure-the amount of pressure that the heart generates when pumping blood through the arteries to the whole body. The second number is the diastolic pressure that shows the amount of pressure in the arteries when the heart is resting between the beats. A normal blood pressure is considered 120/80. However, what is one person’s normal blood pressure, doesn’t mean it would be everybody’s normal blood pressure. The numbers from a blood pressure reading that are considered normal can vary among people and still be just ok for the person. Moreover, a person’s blood pressure won’t be always the same. It can vary considerably. It depends on many factors such as: position of the body, rhythm of breading, stress, condition, medications, food and drinks. It is also lower at night when a person is calm and sleeping and it rises quickly when the person wakes up.
Some of the following conditions can cause a person to have low blood pressure:
- Heart conditions such as: bradycardia, heart valve problems, heart attack, heart failure
- Endocrine problems such as: parathyroid disease, Addison’s disease, hypoglycemia, and sometime diabetes also
Medications that can cause blood pressure include: diuretics, alpha and beta blockers, certain antidepressants and drugs for Parkinson’s disease
Doctors can differentiate few low blood pressure types:
- Orthostatic (postural) pressure-low blood pressure on standing up from a position of sitting or position of lying down
- Postprandial hypotension-sudden drop in blood pressure after eating
- Neurally mediated hypotension—blood pressure drop after standing for long period of time (provokes dizziness, sickness and fainitng)
- Multiple system atrophy with orthostatic hypotension (Shy-Drager syndrome)-disorder that causes damage to part of the nervous system that controls the blood pressure among other functions
Although hypotension can affect any person, certain types are more common depending on few factors:
- Age-drop of blood pressure usually happens after adults stand up or after a meal
- Medications-low blood pressure is a great risk for people that take medications for high blood pressure
- Diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, diabetes and some heart conditions
Blood pressure can cause weakness and fainting that increase the risk of fall injuries. Some cases of low blood pressure can bring to deprivation of oxygen what means that some functions may not be carried out normally and eventually the hear or brain may be damaged.
Low blood pressure cases that do not cause symptoms or cause only mild symptoms won’t usually need treatment.
Sometimes, when the symptoms are noticeable, the doctor will treat the underlying condition rather than low blood pressure. For instance, if a person has health problems such as dehydration, heart failure, diabetes or hypothyroidism, medications to treat these conditions will be prescribed rather than low blood pressure medicines.
If the low blood pressure is due to medications, the pills dose should be changed or the person should stop taking them.
The goal of the treatment of low blood pressure is to raise the blood pressure and diminish the symptoms. This can be done in few ways:
- Using more salt
- Drinking more water
- Taking certain medications
- Wearing compression stockings
Low blood pressure cannot be prevented, but several tips for lifestyle changes can help reduce or prevent symptoms. The tips are:
- Drink more water
- Stop drinking alcohol or drink with moderation
- Go on a healthy diet (whole grains, fruits, vegetables, lean chicken and fish)
- Change body positions slowly