When To Worry About Low Blood Pressure
We all know that high blood pressure can be dangerous. But what about low blood pressure
Also called hypotension, low blood pressure is not a problem if youre healthy and show no signs or symptoms of the condition. However, abnormally low blood pressure can cause problems such as dizziness and fainting and can be a sign that other serious conditions, such as heart disease, are present.
How Is It Diagnosed
Hypotension itself is easy to diagnose. All it takes is taking your blood pressure. However, figuring out why you have hypotension is another story. If you have symptoms, a healthcare provider will likely use a variety of tests to figure out why its happening and if theres any danger to you because of it.
What Blood Pressure Range Is Low What’s Normal
Low blood pressure is a condition in which the force of blood pumping through the arteries is lower than normal.
Blood pressure is expressed in two numbers:
- Systolic blood pressure
- Measures the pressure in the blood vessels when the heartbeats
What Are the Blood Pressure Ranges?
Low, normal, elevated, and high blood pressure is often defined in the following ranges:
Don’t Miss: What Foods Can Lower Your Blood Pressure
What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measure of how much pressure the circulating blood is exerting against the walls of your arteries.
Arteries are blood vessels that carry oxygenated blood away from the heart to the rest of the body. Blood pressure is measured in units of millimeters of mercury , and the readings are made up of two values expressed as a fraction top number or systolic pressure and bottom number or diastolic pressure.
Systolic pressure: it indicates the amount of pressure in the arteries during the contraction of your heart muscle. This will be the higher number in the BP reading.
Diastolic pressure: it indicates the blood pressure when the heart muscle is between beats and the heart is relaxed This will be the lower number in the BP reading.
A blood pressure reading between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg is considered to be normal BP in an adult. If your results fall into this category, adhere to an active lifestyle and a wholesome diet to keep that going.
Moreover, no medical intervention is needed if your systolic and diastolic pressures are measured within this specified range. It can vary slightly even in healthy people.
However, if the numbers are higher or lower than the given range can be dangerous, you should seek medical attention at the earliest.
Stay Hydrated / Prevent Dehydration
For a normal, healthy blood pressure level, the best beverage to drink is water. Water supports blood vessels and arteries, as well as blood flow to prevent low blood pressure.Drinking water has another major benefit: preventing dehydration. Dehydration can lead to low blood pressure . Alcohol consumption, heat and not drinking enough water can cause dehydration.
Recommended Reading: How To Take Your Own Blood Pressure
Low Blood Pressure When You Stand Up
Sometimes, changes in your posture can cause your blood pressure to drop, for example, going from sitting or lying down to standing up. You might feel the symptoms listed above when you stand up, such as feeling dizzy or faint. They will pass quickly as your body adjusts, but can put you at risk of falls.
This is called postural hypotension or orthostatic hypotension. Its caused by changes to your arteries which happen as you get older and if youre taking medications to lower your blood pressure.
The animation below provides information on the causes, symptoms and potential interventions related to orthostatic hypotension.
How Is High Blood Pressure Treated
Doctors have a wide range of high blood pressure medicines available to treat high blood pressure. These high blood pressure treatments include diuretics — often called “water pills” — beta-blockers, calcium channel blockers, angiotensin converting enzyme inhibitors, angiotensin II receptor blockers , and other types of medication.
As effective as these drugs can be at controlling blood pressure, if you get to the point of needing them, you may have to take them for the rest of your life. That is one more good reason to focus on prevention.
Recommended Reading: Can High Blood Pressure Affect Your Vision
What Procedures And Tests Diagnose Low Blood Pressure
In some people, particularly relatively healthy ones, symptoms of weakness, dizziness, and fainting raise the suspicion of low blood pressure. In others, an event often associated with low blood pressure, for example, a heart attack, has occurred to cause the symptoms.
Measuring blood pressure in both the lying and standing positions usually is the first step in diagnosing low blood pressure. In patients with symptomatic low blood pressure, there often is a marked drop in blood pressure upon standing, and patients may even develop orthostatic symptoms. The heart rate often increases. The goal is to identify the cause of the low blood pressure. Sometimes the causes are readily apparent . At other times, the cause may be identified by testing:
Low Diastolic Blood Pressure Symptoms
“Low blood pressure by itself is not a cause for concern,” says Erika Schwartz, MD, a New York-based physician who specializes in combining conventional and integrative medicine_._ “But when symptoms start occurring, then that’s when you should look at ways to counteract it.”
Several common symptoms may indicate that you need a blood-pressure check, the AHA notes.
- The first is dizziness or feeling lightheaded, especiallywhen you change position. For example, if you’re reaching down to a bottomshelf for a grocery item and pop up to put it in your cart, you may get a”head rush” feeling.
- The second major symptom is brain fog, which can make youfeel disconnected or spacey, or even mess with your short-term memory, Dr. Schwartzsays.
- There’s also fatigue, especially the kind that makes you feellike you’re dragging through your day. Since you’re not getting enoughoxygenated blood into your system, your muscles may feel weakened.
Less-common symptoms include blurred vision and nausea, according to the Mayo Clinic.
Recommended Reading: What To Eat To Reduce High Blood Pressure
Low Diastolic Pressure: No Symptoms
“When your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can manifest as lightheadedness, fainting, and weakness. But low diastolic pressure by itself doesn’t have any symptoms,” says Dr. Paul Conlin, professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and chief of medicine at the VA Boston Healthcare System.
One of the new studies, which analyzed the medical records of more than 11,000 adults over a period of three decades, found that people who had low diastolic blood pressure were twice as likely to have subtle evidence of heart damage compared with people whose diastolic blood pressure was 80 to 89 mm Hg. Low diastolic values were also linked to a higher risk of heart disease and death from any cause. The findings appeared in the Aug. 30, 2016, Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Another study, published in The Lancet, involved more than 22,000 people with heart disease, whom researchers grouped according to their blood pressure readings. People with well-controlled blood pressure values were considered the reference group.
Not surprisingly, people with high systolic blood pressure were more likely to experience heart attacks or strokes, be hospitalized with heart failure, or to die compared with people in the reference group. But the same was true for heart attacks, heart failure, and death in people with low blood pressure .
What Is Low Blood Pressure
Hypotension, or low blood pressure, is when your blood pressure is much lower than expected. It can happen either as a condition on its own or as a symptom of a wide range of conditions. It may not cause symptoms, but when it does, it can require medical attention.
Hypotension has two definitions:
- Absolute hypotension: Your resting blood pressure is below 90/60 mmHg .
- Orthostatic hypotension: Your blood pressure drops within three minutes of you standing up from a sitting position. The drop must be 20 mmHg or more for your systolic pressure and 10 mmHg or more for your diastolic pressure. Another name for this is postural hypotension because it happens with changes in posture.
Measuring blood pressure involves two numbers, top and bottom, in mm/Hg.
- Systolic : Your systolic pressure is the pressure on your arteries each time your heart beats. To find your systolic pressure, a healthcare provider* inflates a cuff that squeezes your arm. At the same time, they listen to your pulse at a point below the cuff. Your systolic pressure is when they cant hear your pulse anymore because the cuffs pressure is stronger than the pressure from your heart pumping.
- Diastolic : That number is how much pressure your arteries are under between heartbeats. The provider will keep listening for your pulse to find your diastolic pressure while they deflate the cuff. Your diastolic pressure is the number where they can again hear your heartbeat as the cuff deflates.
Don’t Miss: Does Hydration Affect Blood Pressure
How Can I Prevent High Blood Pressure
You can prevent high blood pressure and lower your odds of getting heart disease by making a few changes in your lifestyle.
1. Consider your diet. A healthy diet can go a long way toward preventing high blood pressure. Trying following the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension eating plan, also known as the DASH diet, which emphasizes plenty of fruits and vegetables and low-fat or nonfat dairy products. Studies conducted by the National Institutes of Health have shown that the DASH diet can lower blood pressure. And the results show up fast — often within two weeks. Stay away from salt and saturated fats and eliminate trans fats. Focus instead on foods that are high in fiber, calcium, and magnesium.
The National High Blood Pressure Education Program recommends no more than 2,300 milligrams of sodium a day. The ideal is even lower — only 1,500. For the average person, who consumes about 4,200 milligrams a day, that requires a big change. But studies show that the lower your salt intake, the lower your blood pressure.
2. Get plenty of exercise. Regular aerobic workouts condition the heart and keep blood vessels working properly. It’s also wise to be as active as possible throughout your day, apart from your workout. Researchers at the University of Minnesota published results from a study of almost 4,000 people between the ages of 15 and 30 who were followed over time. The more active they were, the lower their risk of developing hypertension.
Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Low blood pressure is pressure so low it causes symptoms or signs due to the low flow of blood through the arteries and veins. When the flow of blood is too low to deliver enough oxygen and nutrients to vital organs such as the brain, heart, and kidney, the organs do not function normally and may be temporarily or permanently damaged.
Unlike high blood pressure, low blood pressure is defined primarily by signs and symptoms of low blood flow and not by a specific blood pressure number. Some individuals routinely may have blood pressure numbers of 90/50 with no symptoms and therefore do not have low blood pressure. However, others who normally have higher blood pressure may develop symptoms of low blood pressure if their blood pressure drops to 100/60.
Effective Home Remedies For Low Blood Pressure
- NDTV Food
While you may have heard of hypertension or high blood pressure, suffering from low blood pressure can be as dangerous as well. An optimal blood pressure reading is less than 120mm Hg and above 80 mm Hg. The first number indicates the systolic pressure or the pressure in the arteries when the heart beats and fills with them with blood. The second number represents the diastolic pressure which is the pressure in the arteries when the heart rests between beats. Low blood pressure or hypotension may cause inadequate blood flow to the heart, brain, and other vital organs. A sudden drop in blood pressure often occurs when someone suddenly rises from a lying down or sitting position. This is called postural hypo-tension and may cause light-headedness and dizziness. There are some home remedies for low blood pressure that you can employ in order to deal with the symptoms of erratic blood pressure. But if youve been feeling the following symptoms for a while, consult your doctor and get your blood pressure measured
- Loss of consciousness
- Blurry vision
Once your doctor confirms that your blood pressure is low, follow his advice and take medication if required. A healthy low blood pressure diet is important for low blood pressure treatment. Along with that, heres more homely help. Your diet plays a crucial role in maintaining your blood pressure.
How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Like high blood pressure, low blood pressure can be diagnosed easily with a .
If you feel dizzy or faint when you stand up, you might need to have your blood pressure measured when youre lying down and again while you are standing up.
You might be offered a tilt table test. This is where you lie on a table that starts in a horizontal position, then slowly tilts so that youre in an almost upright position as if you were standing. You will have your blood pressure and pulse monitored, and any symptoms you feel will be recorded. You might also have a blood test to check the levels of certain hormones.
Don’t Miss: How Low Is To Low For Blood Pressure
How Is It Treated And Can It Be Cured
Treating hypotension usually starts with finding out why its happening. If that cause is treatable directly, hypotension will usually get better on its own. An example of this is hypotension that happens because of an injury and blood loss. Repairing that injury and replacing the lost blood will stop hypotension as long as the repair to the injury holds. If you take medications that affect your blood pressure, your healthcare provider may change your dosage or have you stop taking that medication entirely.
If the cause remains a mystery, its also possible to treat it directly. However, curing hypotension is only possible if theres an underlying cause thats curable.
What Is Low Diastolic Pressure
The second number of the two digits in your blood pressure reading indicates your diastolic blood pressure, which is a measurement of the pressure in your arteries as your heart muscle relaxes after a contraction, explains the American Heart Association . The first, or top, number represents your systolic blood pressure, indicating how much pressure results from the force exerted by your heart when it beats.
The AHA notes that a normal blood pressure reading is less than 120 over 80. One number is not more important than the other, but a low diastolic number â often referred to as hypotension â can indicate you aren’t getting enough oxygenated blood in your heart. Over time, this may lead to weakening of the heart muscles.
Low diastolic blood pressure â less than 60 millimeters of mercury â is more common in older women and can be a concern because it’s been found to be a risk factor for heart failure, as noted in the October 2016 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Don’t Miss: When To Worry About Blood Pressure
Managing Low Blood Pressure
Having low blood pressure once in a while isnt likely a cause for concern.
Tell your doctor about any related symptoms. Keep a journal of your symptoms and what you were doing when they began.
This can help your doctor diagnose the cause of your low blood pressure, especially if youve tried making changes to your diet and lifestyle and still arent seeing your BP at a healthy level.
When Is Low Blood Pressure Too Low Hypotension And More
Some people naturally have low blood pressure, known as hypotension. However, when high blood pressure suddenly becomes low blood pressure, it could be cause for concern.
Low blood pressure, or hypotension, may be a sign of good health and of a decreased risk of heart disease. But not always. At times, continually low blood pressure or a sudden drop in blood pressure can lead to worrisome symptoms and even serious health problems.
What Can I Expect If I Have This Condition
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. That’s why understanding the condition and following a healthcare provider’s guidance are so important to minimizing this condition’s impact on your life.
How long does hypotension last?
How long this condition lasts depends very much on what caused it. If you have hypotension because of normal aging, it will probably be a lifelong concern.
Whats the outlook for hypotension?
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: