Low blood pressure (hypotension) does not get a fraction of publicity that high blood pressure gets. Nevertheless, hypotension definitely poses a threat to your health that you should not ignore. Hypotension is defined as the blood pressure being 90/60. In contrast, normal pressure levels are at 120/80 mm Hg.
Low Blood Pressure: Causes
There are a number of causes.
Orthostatic hypotension is a sudden drop in blood pressure when a person stands up or sits down. This usually occurs in senior citizens.
Fainting happens when a person has been standing for a long period of time or after having an upsetting experience. Young children are more likely than adults to experience this,
Hypotension can also occur for some people after eating.
Other factors are the following:
- dehydration: body fluids are being lost at a rate faster than they can be replaced, a person’s blood pressure will fall. Dehydration can also be caused by vomiting, fever, severe diarrhea, or strenuous exercise.
- certain medical conditions:
- thyroid disorders
- Addison’s disease
- hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels)
- heart problems (e.g., heart attack, heart failure, valve heart disease, a very low heart rate)
- nervous system disorders (e.g., Parkinson’s disease) – may affect the communication between your brain and the pumping of your heart
- medications: Certain medications used to treat high blood pressure, angina, Parkinson’s disease, or depression increase the risk of developing hypotension.
- pregnancy: A woman’s circulatory system changes while she is pregnant. Blood vessels expand slightly, decreasing blood pressure. These changes usually go away after delivery.
- shock: The most severe form of hypotension is shock. This occurs when blood pressure drops to dangerously low levels, seriously impairing adequate blood flow to vital organs, such as the brain and kidneys. Shock can be caused by major blood loss (e.g., caused by external or internal bleeding), severe infections, burns, or allergic reactions.
Low Blood Pressure: What Are The Symptoms?
If you experience the following symptoms, get it checked out.
- blurry vision
- cold, clammy, pale skin
- fast breathing
- fast heartbeat
- inability to concentrate
Treatment and Prevention
There are a few lifestyle changes that can help prevent hypotension:
- Drink more fluids, like water, to help with dehydration. Limit your alcohol intake. Even in moderation, alcohol can cause dehydration.
- Wear compression stockings to prevent blood from pooling in your lower limbs and help improve blood flow throughout your body.
- Change body positions slowly. Take your time when standing up.
- Increasing your salt intake can help with hypotension. But excessive salt intake can lead to an unhealthy increase in blood pressure.
- In the case of shock, seek emergency medical treatment immediately. Shock is life-threatening and needs to be treated by medical personnel.