Low Blood Pressure

What is it?

Low Blood Pressure Hypotension: Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm hg

Normal blood pressure is 120/80 mm hg where 120 is the systolic pressure and 80 is the diastolic pressure. Low blood pressure is an abnormal condition where a person's blood pressure is much lower than usual, which can cause symptoms such as dizziness or lightheadedness. When the blood pressure is too low, there is inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. A blood pressure level that is borderline low for one person may be normal for another. The most important factor is how the blood pressure changes from the normal condition. Most normal blood pressures fall in the range of 90/60 mm Hg to 130/80 mm Hg, but a significant change, even as little as 20 mm Hg, can cause problems for some people.

What are the causes?

Low Blood Pressure Low blood pressure: A sudden dip in blood pressure can be dangerous

Blood pressure refers to the measurement of the pressure in the arteries during active and resting phases of every heart beat. When blood pressure goes below 120/80 mm hg, it is known as low blood pressure. A sudden dip in blood pressure can be dangerous, the patient is likely to faint and experience dizziness as well. Some medical conditions which can give you low blood pressure are: 

  • Heart problems 
  • Pregnancy
  • Blood loss
  • Severe infection
  • Dehydration
  • Nutritional deficiencies 
  • Endocrine problems

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms of low BP may include: Tiredness General weakness Light-headedness and fainting Blurred vision Dizziness Palpitations Confusion Nausea Temporary loss of consciousness.

What are the risk factors?

Low Blood Pressure Hypotension: Pregnant women are at risk of suffering from low blood pressure

Low blood pressure can happen to anyone at any time. However, some people are more prone to low blood pressure than others. Some of the risk factors of low blood pressure include: 

  • Blood loss
  • Heat exposure
  • Age
  • Dehydration
  • Pregnancy
  • Alcohol 
  • Excessive sweating
  • Reaction from some medicines 

How is the diagnosis made?

Blood pressure is measured using two numbers - the systolic first (the pressure in the arteries when the heart contracts and pushes the blood round the body) and then the diastolic (the pressure in the arteries when the heart relaxes and fills with blood between two heart beats).Blood pressure is measured using an inflatable cuff. This is positioned around the upper arm. The cuff is inflated and the doctor or nurse listens to the artery just below the cuff as the air is then released. When they can hear the heart beat, they will record the systolic pressure. When the sound disappears, they will record the diastolic pressure. Sometimes an automatic blood pressure recording machine is used.Blood pressure may be measured while lying down and then while standing. Blood pressure has to be checked regularly.

What is the treatment?

Low blood pressure or hypotension may or may not require treatment. The treatment of hypotension is directed toward the underlying cause. Checking whether you are drinking enough and are not dehydrated may be important. If an underlying disorder, such as a heart condition is suspected then it may be advisable to go to hospital for tests and treatment. If medications are suspected of causing hypotension the doctor will probably advise a change of drug or dosage. Bed rest and assistance with daily activities are needed until the condition improves.

What are the prevention?

Low blood pressure or hypotension can bring some distressing symptoms with itself. Symptoms like dizziness, fainting and disorientation are common with hypotension. To prevent low blood pressure, some simple lifestyle changes can be encorporated. These include:

  • Add more sodium to your diet in the form of salt
  • Avoid eating rapidly digesting forms of carbs 
  • Eat smaller meals with low carbohydrate content
  • Fill up on vitamins and minerals

What are the complications?

Low blood pressure or hypotension can happen to any person at any time. But each time low blood pressure affects someone, it brings a set of health complications. This happens only in case of severely low blood pressure. Some of the complications of hypotension include: 

  • Heart diseases
  • Coma
  • Recurrent fainting spells
  • Stroke due to poor blood supply to the brain

DoctorNDTV Team

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