What Causes High Blood Pressure And Low Blood Pressure
The medical conditions of high blood pressure and low blood pressure are both effects of the lifestyle that we lead. This means that if we adapt to a lifestyle that is in line with our body and overall physical fitness, then we will have ideal blood pressure.
But, if our lifestyle is deviated from what we had started, some medical conditions can arise. High blood pressure and low blood pressure are some of those problems.
Diagnosis Of Low Blood Pressure
A familiar instrument for diagnosis of low blood pressure is a sphygmomanometer, which has an inflatable cuff that goes around your forearm while you are sitting and supported. This cuff is worn at the heart level and must be the right size since a too large or too small cuff would result in the wrong measurement.
The inflation and deflation causes the blood vessels to constrict and relax in conjunction, and a doctor uses a stethoscope near the crook of your elbow to determine when the blood flow is constricted, and the time that it starts. The pressure diagnosed at these two times is what is noted as your blood pressure.
The pulse rate is also an important indicator of any abnormalities in blood pressure, and a doctor may repeatedly measure your pulse in addition to measuring blood pressure. A rapid, shallow beating of the pulse may indicate inability of the heart to pump adequate blood through the body. Sometimes, an electrocardiogram may also be used for accurate measurement of the heart rate, or a blood sugar test may be prescribed to determine any symptoms or effects of low blood pressure. A “tilt-table test” that simulates a change in posture while lying down on a table may also be prescribed to check for orthostatic hypotension.
Diagnosis depends on the outcome of these tests and is relatively simple to do. Medical history is also a consideration when determining if a person has signs of low blood pressure, or a more short-term incident.
What Is Normal Blood Pressure
A normal blood pressure reading indicates that the heart and blood vessels are not working too hard pushing blood and that the blood is not exerting too much pressure on the walls of the vessels, says Aseem Desai, M.D., a cardiologist at Providence Mission Hospital in Southern California. Recent data from the American Heart Association suggests the optimal normal reading for adults over 20 is lower than 120/80 mmHgVirani S, et al. Heart disease and stroke statistics – 2021 update . American Heart Association Journal. 2021 143:e254-e743. .
Dr. Desai notes blood pressure can vary depending on a persons age, gender, race and ethnicity, but it should still fall within the general normal range. While numbers lower than 120/80 are generally considered normal, Dr. Desai adds, The target blood pressure for treatment varies depending on age and associated co-morbidities .
Don’t Miss: What To Do If My Blood Pressure Is Low
How Is Blood Pressure Measured
Blood pressure is measured in millimetres of mercury and is given as 2 figures:
- systolic pressure the pressure when your heart pushes blood out
- diastolic pressure the pressure when your heart rests between beats
For example, if your blood pressure is “140 over 90” or 140/90mmHg, it means you have a systolic pressure of 140mmHg and a diastolic pressure of 90mmHg.
As a general guide:
- ideal blood pressure is considered to be between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg
- high blood pressure is considered to be 140/90mmHg or higher
- low blood pressure is considered to be 90/60mmHg or lower
Medication Used To Treat Low Blood Pressure
In cases of more severe or recurrent symptoms of low blood pressure, doctors may prescribe drugs to stabilize the system. These may include:
Fludrocortisone: It is a steroid that is prescribed when the body is unable to produce enough by itself, and is often prescribed in conjunction with other steroids such as hydrocortisone. It reduces inflammation in the body and causes the body to retain more sodium. It may cause some water retention, but this is not a cause for concern since it is necessary to build blood pressure. To maintain the sodium-potassium balance, a doctor might recommend consumption of potassium-rich foods such as apricot, bananas, spinach and broccoli while on this prescription. Once the effects of low blood pressure are no longer witnessed, you may be asked to discontinue the steroid, while maintaining lifestyle and diet changes.
Midodrine: A counter to blood vessel dilation, midodrine is a what is called a vasopressor and constricts small blood vessels to increase blood pressure. It is usually prescribed in cases of postural hypotension and the dosage is gradually increased over time to prevent side effects.
Recommended Reading: How To Lower Blood Pressure Quickly In An Emergency
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure doesnt always cause problems. If your numbers are usually low but youre otherwise feeling well, your doctor will probably just keep an eye on things.
But sometimes low blood pressure causes alarming symptoms, including:
- Lightheadedness or dizziness
- Sleepiness or fatigue
- Confusion or inability to concentrate
Any of these signs warrants a call to your doctor, who will likely take a look at the medicines youre taking. Sometimes a simple adjustment to the dosing is enough to raise your numbers back to the healthy range. Be sure to let your doctor know about any over-the-counter drugs or supplements you take, since many can interfere with prescription meds.
Your doctor will also want to make sure youre eating right and getting enough B vitamins. Depending on your symptoms and personal health history, your doctor may also order blood tests and heart screenings to get to the root of the problem.
Diet And Nutrition For Low Blood Pressure
A balanced meal with complex carbohydrates, fish, lean meat, fruits and cooked vegetables goes a long way in preventing hypotension. Changing meal patterns to make them more frequent and less heavy prevent as well as address postprandial fatigue and hypotension.
On diagnosis of a dip in BP, a low blood pressure diet that supplies adequate sodium, and potassium while maintaining blood sugar levels is generally recommended for patients.Increased consumption of non-alcoholic beverages helps maintain adequate hydration and is recommended. Increasing salt quantities or addition of soy sauce in everyday cooking is a simple change that combats effects of low blood pressure and may be suggested by your doctor.
Read Also: What To Do When I Have Low Blood Pressure
You May Have To Use These Medications
You do not need to hesitate from consulting with a physiotherapist about the problems that you are having. Through a relationship of mutual trust, you will be able to get a prescription that will be best suited for your body and overall health.
Following are the prescribed medicines that are greatly helpful for people suffering from low blood pressure.
- Corticosteroids: These are the types of medicines that control the amount of sodium present in our blood. By regulating that particular concentration of sodium in blood they raise the blood pressure of the individual.
- Alpha-adrenergic Agonists: These are the types of medicines that promote the contraction of blood vessels. As a result of this contraction, the pressure of blood over the vessels increases, and the body supports an ideal blood pressure.
- Angiotensin II: This type of medicine increases the extent of retention of sodium in the kidneys, and that contributes to the rise of blood pressure in the body of a person.
- These medicines help reduce the size of the swollen blood vessels and result in the contraction of the said blood vessels. This, as a result, leads to an increase in blood pressure.
- Immunosuppressants: These medicines promote the solubility of the sodium ions in your blood, as a result increasing its concentration. This contributes to rising in the BP of the individual.
Normal Blood Pressure By Age Race And Gender
Previously, guidance for normal blood pressure for adults varied by gender and specific age, but new data states normal blood pressure for adults as a collective is less than 120/80 mmHgHigh Blood Pressure Symptoms and Causes. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Accessed 7/16/2021. .
When it comes to race and ethnicity, Dr. Desai says certain groups have a higher rate of hypertension. Non-Hispanic Black people have a significantly higher rate of hypertension compared to non-Hispanic white people, and Hispanics and non-Hispanic Asians have lower rates than the first two, he says.
The reason for this variance can range from substandard insurance coverage and poor access to healthcare to gaps in the use of medications to treat multiple conditions with reduced compliance in certain groups, he adds.
As for gender, theres increasing evidence for risk of cardiovascular disease in women with blood pressures lower than what is considered normal, says Jennifer Wong, M.D., medical director of non-invasive cardiology at MemorialCare Heart and Vascular Institute at Orange Coast Medical Center in Fountain Valley, California.
Also Check: What Does It Mean To Have High Blood Pressure
Risks Of Low Blood Pressure
Patients can experience dizziness, fainting, and falls, a dangerous complication for older adults.
In serious cases, severe drops in blood pressure can decrease the blood flow to the heart and brain so much that they damage the organs ability to function.
Severe hypotension has been linked to stroke, shock, and cardiovascular issues.
Why Is It Important To Visit A Doctor To Confirm High/low Blood Pressure
It is important to visit a doctor regarding blood pressure for the sake of the precision of the outcome or the result of the readings. Moreover, in a proper medical facility and care of professionals, you will be able to get guidance about how to keep your blood pressure in check if it is not per your ideal blood pressure.
Also, you can get a consultation regarding the changes that you will need to make in your lifestyle to bring your blood pressure back in check.
You May Like: How Low Can Blood Pressure Go Before Death
What Foods Should You Eat To Lower Blood Pressure
To lower blood pressure eat a diet that is rich in minerals like calcium, magnesium and potassium.
Besides this, it is good to take short meals that are low in curbs. Instead of deep-fried products, it will be good if you were to incline towards a diet that is mainly consisting of vegetables like spinach, broccoli, and other leafy green vegetables.
Consume lots of low-fat poultry and dairy products. These will help enable a healthy diet for you and help you lean towards a healthy lifestyle.
Why You Might Have Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure has many possible causes, from lifestyle choices, to medication or an underlying health condition.
In some cases, it may just be the result of being healthy and active or a tendency you’ve inherited from your parents.
Throughout the day, it’s normal for your blood pressure to vary depending on what you’re doing. Stress at work, the temperature outside and your diet could all affect your blood pressure reading.
This is why it’s important your blood pressure is checked under similar conditions each time to make sure results are consistent.
Also Check: High Blood Pressure In Eyes
What Are Hypertension And Hypotension Are They Both The Same As High And Low Blood Pressure
Hypertension is the condition that emerges when a person is having high blood pressure. Because of contraction in vessels, the blood can not flow through the vessels efficiently, and therefore, high pressure is exerted over the blood vessels, this particular condition is high blood pressure, also referred to as hypertension.
Hypotension is the condition that comes into effect when the blood pressure of a person is lower compared to the ideal value of blood pressure. This means that the heart is unable to pump blood through the blood vessels to all the body parts. This type of situation when observed is called low blood pressure, or hypotension.
Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Throughout the day, your blood pressure can vary by between 30-40 mmHg depending on what you are doing. Having a stressful week at work, the temperature outside, and even what you had for lunch could affect your blood pressure reading.
Each time that you have your blood pressure measured, it is important that the test is carried out under similar conditions to ensure that the results are consistent. If you have a low blood pressure reading, your GP will first consider the everyday causes that might have affected it, before considering the possible underlying causes.
Also Check: Does Apple Watch 6 Measure Blood Pressure
Are You Over 60 And Have A Blood Pressure Problem
What is the normal range of blood pressure for an older adult?
Overall, older adults should aim for lower blood pressure numbers but a blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg or lower is considered too low . Excessively low blood pressure may cause dizziness or fainting, and increase the risk of falls. Why Does Blood Pressure Increase With Age?
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Reading Is 90/50
The first thing to do is to check your pulse. If your pulse is over 90 your heart may be compensating for the low blood pressure. Call the doctor for advice if youre pulse is high and your experiencing any unusual symptoms.
As an aside, home blood pressure monitors are amazingly affordable and great way to stay on top of your blood pressure. So invest in your health and check out .
You dont need to do anything if your pulse is normal and youre not experiencing any symptoms.
Read Also: What Number Is Low Blood Pressure
What Can I Expect If I Have Low Blood Pressure
If you have hypotension, what you can expect depends on what causes it and if you have symptoms. If you dont have symptoms, its unlikely that hypotension will be a problem for you.
If you have symptoms, hypotension can interfere with your ability to stand up, care for yourself, cook, drive and do many other activities. Thats why understanding the condition and following a healthcare providers guidance are so important to minimizing this conditions impact on your life.
How long does low blood pressure last?
How long this condition lasts depends very much on what caused it. If you have hypotension because of normal aging, itll probably be a lifelong concern.
Outlook for low blood pressure
If you have low blood pressure but dont have symptoms, this condition usually isnt harmful and shouldnt impact your life.
If you do have symptoms, the underlying cause is usually what determines the outlook for this condition. Your healthcare provider is the best person to tell you what to expect from this condition and what you can do to manage those effects.
Complications that can happen because of hypotension include:
Q What Should You Eat When Experiencing Low Blood Pressure
- Drinking plenty of fluids- hydration is key, and dehydration can severely affect blood volume.
- Drink plenty of water through the day, especially after a workout session.
- Vitamin B12- lack of vitamin B12 can lead to anemia. So, you have to consume foods like eggs, cereals, and beef to avoid a dip in your blood pressure.
- Folate- folate helps keep blood pressure levels at a steady level, and foods like asparagus, liver, and garbanzo beans are rich in folate.
- Salt: Salty foods are known to increase blood pressure, and you can eat food like smoked fish, cottage cheese, canned soup, and olives.
- Caffeine: Caffeinated tea and coffee can spike your blood pressure by stimulating the cardiovascular system and giving your rate a boost.
Don’t Miss: Vitamins To Help Blood Pressure
What Is A Good Blood Pressure Reading
According to the American Heart Association, a normal blood pressure reading is lower than 120/80. While there is no specific number for low blood pressure, most experts say blood pressure is too low when it causes symptoms or drops suddenly. In general, though, low blood pressure can be considered anything under 90/60.
Research Shows The Benefits Of Controlling High Blood Pressure
Preventing and controlling high blood pressure is important for your heart health and may benefit your brain health as well. An NIH-funded study called the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial found that lowering systolic blood pressure to less than 120 in adults age 50 and older significantly reduced the risk of cardiovascular disease and death. Results from a related study showed that lowering systolic blood pressure to less than 120 reduced the risk of mild cognitive impairment, and an analysis of several large, long-term studies of adults over age 55 found that treating high blood pressure was associated with a reduction in the risk of developing Alzheimers disease.
Recommended Reading: What Is Hypertension Stage 1
What Are The Risks Of Having High Blood Pressure
The most serious risk that is faced by an individual that is suffering from high blood pressure is the risk of heart attack, heart failure, or some chronic disease related to the heart.
Moreover, there are also the additional risks of strokes, vision loss, diabetes, kidney failure, unresponsiveness to external stimuli, chronic chest pain, artery damage, and vascular dementia.
What Does A Blood Pressure Reading Of 90/50 Mean
Readings at or below 90/50 usually indicate low blood pressure or what is called Hypotension. What this means is the blood pressure in your arteries is lower than what is considered normal.
However, theres usually no need to be concerned about low blood pressure unless youre experiencing dizziness, fainting, nausea or fatigue. Hypotension may not even be diagnosed unless youre experiencing these symptoms.
You May Like: Can Kidney Problems Cause High Blood Pressure