Is My Blood Pressure Too Low
Most doctors agree that a healthy blood pressure is anything under 120/80 mmHg. But how low is too low for blood pressure? Hypotension can occur when blood pressure drops below 90/60 mmHg.
This isnt a hard and fast rule, though. Since factors, like age, weight, and level of physical activity contribute to blood pressure, your doctor may not diagnose you with hypotension even if your blood pressure is a little low.
Low blood pressure typically becomes an issue only if youre experiencing symptoms, such as:
- Rapid breathing
- Cold, clammy skin
If you have one or more of these symptoms and suspect your blood pressure is low, talk to your doctor.
Your Diet Or Dehydration Could Make You Dizzy
Even mild dehydration may be why youre feeling dizzy or light-headed, according to the American Heart Association . Dehydration can also cause blood pressure to drop, which can lead to dizzy spells, notes the AHA. Dieting can also result in feelings of dizziness, because some diets cause dehydration, says Dr. Blau. According to the AHA, mild dehydration that follows the loss of just 1 to 2 percent of your body weight can cause dizziness.
Causes Of Secondary Hypertension
When high blood pressure arises suddenly due to an identifiable condition, its called secondary hypertension.
Some conditions and drugs can lead to secondary hypertension, including the following:
- Kidney problems
Examples include pseudoephedrine and phenylephrine .
HormonesBirth control pills can also affect blood pressure. Women who take birth control pills usually experience a small rise in systolic and diastolic blood pressure .
Hormone therapy used to relieve symptoms of menopause can also cause a small rise in systolic blood pressure.
If you know you have high blood pressure, but are considering hormone therapy, talk with your doctor about the risks and benefits of undergoing hormone therapy, as well as the best ways to control your blood pressure.
Additionally, some recreational and illegal drugs, such as cocaine, ecstasy , and amphetamines, are also known to increase blood pressure.
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But How Low Is Too Low For Blood Pressure
As earlier mentioned, one persons normal blood pressure could be way too high for another. Since normal BP is subjective, it is important that patients commit to routine self-monitoring, and track their daily vitals that way.
But most experts say that BP below 90/60 mmHg, or there being any sudden drastic drop on it, can be problematic. A change of even 20mmHg can cause dizziness, confusion and even worse symptoms that can affect brain function. In severe cases, it could even lead to uncontrolled bleeding or severe infections within the body.
What Is The Ideal Blood Pressure
Blood pressure readings are calculated using one number over another: systolic blood pressure over diastolic. The blood pressure monitor shows measurements in millimetres of mercury, appearing as mmHg. Everyones blood pressure will be slightly different and you would need to discuss with a medical professional as to whats safe for you.
The normal blood pressure range for adults comes in between 90/60mmHg and 120/80mmHg. This means that anything below 90/60mmHg mark constitutes low blood pressure , while anything above 140/90mmHg indicates high blood pressure as this is the threshold where a medical professional would actively monitor your blood pressure.
Knowing these numbers can help make you more aware of your health, and may help you to stay on top of your blood pressure
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Dizziness May Be A Symptom Of Heart Disease
One simple cause of dizziness is sudden movement, like when you get up too suddenly from your seat or bed. But sometimes dizziness is a sign of a heart condition. Among the cardiovascular-related causes of dizziness are leaking or narrow heart valves, arrhythmias like atrial fibrillation, and atherosclerosis, says Patricia Blau, PhD, associate professor of physical therapy at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center in Dallas. These can cause dizziness because they reduce blood flow to the brain, according to VEDA.
Is Low Blood Pressure Bad For Your Health
Lower blood pressure is associated with a lower risk of conditions like heart disease, stroke, and kidney disease. Those who exercise regularly, athletes, non-smokers, and those who maintain an optimal body weight experience lower blood pressures. Lower blood pressure is a good thing as long as it doesn’t cause symptoms that could damage organs and tissues of the body.
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Normal Blood Pressure For Men And Women By Age
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 .
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.
When Is Low Blood Pressure An Emergency
In many cases, low blood pressure readings are not a cause for concern. A person with low blood pressure may not even be aware that their blood pressure is low, as it does not cause symptoms in many cases.
There is also no specific cutoff point at which blood pressure becomes too low or dangerously low, as it may vary from person to person.
Some people may have chronic low blood pressure and can be otherwise healthy. The note that most doctors will only consider chronic low blood pressure to be dangerous if it causes other symptoms.
Severe symptoms that come on suddenly may also be a cause for concern.
While symptoms may vary from person to person, they typically include:
If a person experiences any of these symptoms, they should contact a doctor.
When blood pressure is very low or drops rapidly, it can also be a medical emergency. The note that extremely low drops in blood pressure may put the bodys organs at risk of not getting enough blood, which may lead to shock.
Some concerning signs accompanying very low blood pressure to look out for include:
- rapid, shallow breathing
- very weak but rapid pulse
- cold, clammy skin
- blue hue to the skin
Anyone experiencing these symptoms should seek emergency medical attention.
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure
The cause of low blood pressure isn’t always clear. It may be associated with the following:
- Severe dehydration from vomiting, diarrhea, or fever
- A reaction to medication or alcohol
- A severe allergic reaction called anaphylaxis that causes an irregular heartbeat
Who Gets Postural Hypotension?
Postural hypotension, which is low blood pressure when standing up suddenly, can happen to anyone for a variety of reasons, such as dehydration, lack of food, or being overly fatigued. It can also be influenced by genetic make-up, aging, medication, dietary and psychological factors, and acute triggers, such as infection and allergy.
Postural hypotension occurs most frequently in people who are taking drugs to control high blood pressure . It can also be related to pregnancy, strong emotions, hardening of the arteries , or diabetes. The elderly are particularly affected, especially those who have high blood pressure or autonomic nervous system dysfunction.
Hypotension after meals is a common cause of dizziness and falls after eating. This is most common after large meals containing a lot of carbohydrates. Itâs believed to be caused by blood pooling into the vessels of the stomach and intestines.
Several drugs are commonly associated with postural hypotension. These medications can be divided into two major categories:
Common causes of naturally occurring postural hypotension include:
Certain diseases can also cause postural hypotension. These include:
Whats The Difference Between Blood Pressure And Pulse
While your blood pressure is the force of your blood moving through your blood vessels, your heart rate is the number of times your heart beats per minute.
- They are two separate measurements and indicators of health.
- For people with high blood pressure , theres no substitute for measuring blood pressure.
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A Boat Ride Or Waterbed Can Cause Dizziness
Its pretty common to experience a rocky, dizzy feeling on your first day back after a cruise, says Carol Foster, MD, director of the balance laboratory at the University of Colorado Hospital in Aurora. For a few people, this feeling, called mal de debarquement, can last for months or even years, says Dr. Foster. Some 75 percent of all sailors can experience such dizzy spells. Airplanes, cars, and trains can also cause a wobbly-legs feeling. Even relaxing on a waterbed can cause dizziness.
Is Low Blood Pressure A Problem
For some people, low blood pressure is a sign of good health. These are generally people who are very fit and who have a slow pulse. For other people, low blood pressure is a problem.
Often, people with low blood pressure can be expected to lead longer lives.
However, people who experience continuing symptoms of low blood pressure should see a doctor. Sudden, severe low blood pressure can be associated with serious medical conditions.
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Drink Plenty Of Water
Dehydration can sometimes lead to low blood pressure. Some people may have hypotension even with mild dehydration.
You can also get dehydrated by losing water too quickly. This can happen through vomiting, severe diarrhea, fever, strenuous exercise, and excess sweating.
Medications such as diuretics may also cause dehydration. Drink more water by using a portable water bottle. Use an alarm or timer to remind you to take a sip.
What Are The Treatments For Low Blood Pressure
The treatments for low blood pressure depend on what caused the condition. Your doctor will work with you to address the cause of the hypotension. In severe cases of hypotension, your doctor may give you IV fluids to raise your blood pressure.
Depending on a variety of factors, such as your age and the type of hypotension, your doctor may recommend one or more of the following: dietary changes, lifestyle changes and/or medications.
To make dietary changes, your doctor might tell you to:
- Stay hydrated by drinking more water throughout the day.
- Drink less alcohol.
- Increase your salt intake slightly because sodium raises blood pressure.
- Eat smaller, healthy meals and limit carbohydrates.
You can take several steps to avoid a sudden drop in blood pressure. Your doctor may recommend that you make the following lifestyle changes:
- Wear compression stockings.
- Get up slowly after youve been sitting or lying down.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Sit up and breathe deeply for a few minutes before getting out of bed.
Your doctor might prescribe medications like:
- Fludrocortisone, which increases blood volume.
- Midodrine, which increases blood pressure.
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Blood Pressure Vs Heart Rate
Blood pressure and heart rate are both important indications of how well your heart is working, but they measure different things. As noted above, blood pressure is the force of your blood flowing through your arteries. By contrast, heart rate is the number of times your heart beats each minute.
In adults, the heart typically beats 60 to 100 times per minute while at rest. But as with blood pressure, a healthy heart rate will differ between individuals. For instance, a pulse below 60 beats per minute is slower than normal, but it might not cause any issues for you.
However, in some situations, a low pulse means that the heart is not circulating enough blood to satisfy the body’s needs. That can cause you to feel dizzy and weak. A pulse in the 30s is a dangerously low heart rate and should be investigated.
The relationship between blood pressure and heart rate is complex. If you’re concerned about your numbers, see your doctor.
Also Known As Hypotension
Low blood pressure, also known as hypotension, occurs when blood flows through your blood vessels at pressures that are lower than normal. Blood pressure is defined as the force of blood pushing against artery walls as it is pumped by the heart. Low blood pressure is primarily a concern if it produces symptoms such as dizziness, fainting, blurry vision, or fatigue, or if you have a sudden drop in blood pressure.
Maintaining a healthy blood pressure can protect you from a host of health issues.
But blood pressure that is too lowdefined as below 90/60 mm Hgcan prevent your organs from getting adequate amounts of the oxygenated blood they need to function properly. Hypotension is of particular concern for vital organs like the brain.
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Why Diastolic Pressure Is Important Too
The findings about low diastolic blood pressure are intriguing, and they make sense intuitively, Dr. Conlin says. Diastolic pressure is measured during the point in the heart cycle when blood flows into the coronary arteries that feed the heart. When those arteries are clogged with fatty deposits, blood pressure beyond the narrowed areas will drop as blood works its way through the narrowed channels. As a result, part of the heart muscle may not get enough blood. Starved for oxygen and nutrients, the heart may become weak and prone to damage.
What Can I Do For Myself
There are other things you can do for yourself to help with your symptoms.
- Wear supportive elastic stockings . They put extra pressure on your legs which helps to improve circulation and raise your blood pressure. For some people this can be enough, but speak to your GP first because they arent suitable for everyone.
- Stand up slowly from sitting or lying down. You can try other simple movements to get the blood flowing before you stand up, such as straightening and bending your legs.
- Avoid standing for long periods of time.
- Drink enough water throughout the day, around 2 litres, so you dont get dehydrated.
- Eat little and often throughout the day. This avoids low blood pressure after eating.
Read more about how .
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Serious Injuries And Shock
Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Low blood pressure can also occur if you go into shock after having a serious injury.
Other kinds of shock are described below.
Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, is caused by an allergic reaction to something – for example, a wasp sting or a peanut. During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leads to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure.
Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.
What To Do If You Have High Blood Pressure
If you have heart disease, you may want to check that your diastolic blood pressure doesn’t fall too far below 70 mm Hg, which can happen when you try to reach a low systolic number. “For a systolic blood pressure goal, I tend to be comfortable with a value of around 130,” Dr. Conlin says. Going lower than that carries an increased risk of side effects and other adverse events.
Everyone is unique. Your medical history, current state of health, lifestyle, and willingness to take additional medication and accept certain risks all play a role in determining your blood pressure goal and how to achieve it. Talk to your doctor about the strategy that makes the most sense for you.
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Migraines Sometimes Cause Vertigo
It surprises some people to know that dizziness is commonly linked to migraine disease, either with or without headaches, says Debara L. Tucci, MD, an otologist, neurologist, and ear surgeon at Duke Medicine in Durham, North Carolina. Other symptoms of migraine-related vertigo include sensitivity to motion, light, and sound, adds Dr. Tucci. About 40 percent of people who have migraines experience dizziness or vertigo, according to VEDA.
Low Blood Pressure : When To Be Concerned
Low blood pressure is often viewed as desirable by the majority of people, as most people will not experience adverse effects from low blood pressure. But, thats only half of the story. The other half is determining how low is exactly too low, and how it can affect your life.
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Blood Pressure Is Diagnosed By A Doctor Using A Blood Pressure Machine The Process Includes:
- Being seated in a chair with your back supported
- Putting your feet flat on the floor and supporting your arm at heart level
- Remaining quiet for five minutes and refraining from talking
It is very important to use the proper size cuff when taking a blood pressure reading. Failure to do so will lead to inaccuracies. A cuff that is too small for the arm circumference will give an artificially high reading. A cuff that is too large will give too low a reading. Initially, blood pressure should be measured in each arm to make sure both readings are the same. The arm with the higher readings should then be targeted for all future blood pressure checks.
If your blood pressure readings are high, your doctor may ask that you return for additional measurements on different days because blood pressure can vary widely from day to day.
Your doctor will most likely diagnose you with high blood pressure if you have several readings of 140/90 or higher. If you have readings of 130/80 or higher and are diabetic or have chronic kidney disease, you are likely to be diagnosed with high blood pressure.
What can I do if I am diagnosed with high blood pressure?
Eat healthy food
Make sure your diet emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods. An easy tool for planning health meals is the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension diet which can help you reduce your systolic blood pressure by 8-14 mm Hg.
Achieve and Maintain a Healthy Weight
Increase Physical Activity