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Can Your Blood Pressure Be Too Low

Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

TriHealth Doctor on Call: When is a Blood Pressure Reading Too Low?

There are some things you can do to help prevent and manage low diastolic pressure:

  • Try to keep your salt intake to between 1.5 and 4 grams per day. An ideal number is about 3.5 grams. Read food labels to avoid added salt in your diet.
  • Eat a heart-healthy diet. This diet includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. For protein, stick to lean meats and fish. Avoid fatty foods.
  • Drink enough fluids and avoid alcohol, which can increase your risk of dehydration.
  • Stay physically active and start an exercise program. Ask your doctor what type and amount of exercise is safe for you.
  • Maintain a moderate weight. If youre overweight, your doctor can help you create a safe weight loss plan.
  • If you smoke, quit. Quitting can be difficult, so consider reaching out for support.

Changing The Bodys Position

Blood pressure can vary throughout the body due to the direct action of gravity. When a person is standing, blood pressure is higher in the legs than in the head, much in the way that the water pressure at the bottom of a swimming pool is higher than that at the top. When a person lies down, blood pressure tends to be more equal throughout the body.

When a person stands up, blood from the veins in the legs has a harder time getting back to the heart. As a result, the heart has less blood to pump out, and blood pressure may temporarily drop throughout the body. When a person sits down or lies down, blood can more easily return to the heart, and cardiac output and blood pressure may increase. Elevating the legs above the level of the heart can increase return of blood to the heart, which increases cardiac output and raises blood pressure.

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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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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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Can your blood pressure be too low?

This online support group from the American Heart Association allows you to connect with others going through an array of heart issues, including hypertension. Ask questions, share your story, and get peer support from others going through similar experiences to take control of their heart health.

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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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How To Raise Low Blood Pressure

If youre dealing with hypotension, the first step is making an appointment with your doctor. After discussing your medical history, lifestyle, and other factors, your doctor may change your medication or suggest certain lifestyle changes to get to the root of the issue.

Its important not to stop taking any medications or change dosages without talking to a healthcare professional first. The same is true of dietary or other changes.

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Risk Of Injury From Falls

If your blood pressure is low enough, the drop can cause symptoms such as fainting or dizziness.This causes a significant risk of falling since youre not conscious to stop the fall. Additionally, youre not aware of how badly youve injured yourself during a fainting spell. This can lead to serious injuries, such as head trauma from hitting your head.

When To Contact A Medical Professional

What To Do If Blood Pressure Is Too Low

If low blood pressure causes a person to pass out , seek treatment right away. Or call 911 or the local emergency number. If the person is not breathing or has no pulse, begin CPR.

  • Black or maroon stools

Hypotension Blood pressure â low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH

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Possible Complications And Risks

In some cases, your blood pressure can drop so low that your body goes into shock. This is because without proper blood flow your organs dont get enough oxygen. Signs that your body is going into shock include feeling clammy with cold but sweaty skin, faster breathing, and a rapid pulse.

If you experience these symptoms it is imperative that you seek medical attention. The greatest risk lies in not addressing your low blood pressure. Talk to your doctor about any blood pressure-related concerns you have.

Diagnosis And Types Of Hypotension

Once a healthcare provider has determined through a blood pressure reading that you have hypotension, diagnosis will focus on figuring out what is causing your blood pressure to be too low. Your healthcare provider will examine your medical history to look for underlying causes and may order a blood test to see if you have low blood sugar , high blood sugar , or a low red blood cell count .

To see if your heart is functioning the way its supposed to, the healthcare provider may order an electrocardiogram , which records your hearts electrical signals and can detect irregularities in your heart rhythm, structural problems in your heart, and issues with the supply of blood and oxygen to the heart muscle.

If you are experiencing dizziness or neurally mediated hypotension, a tilt-table test may be performed. In this test, a person lies on a table that is tilted to raise or lower their upper body in order to evaluate how their body reacts to changes in position.

There are five main types of hypotension.

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Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

Most doctors will only consider chronically low blood pressure as dangerous if it causes noticeable signs and symptoms, such as:

  • Dizziness or lightheadedness
  • Fainting
  • Dehydration and unusual thirst
  • Dehydration can sometimes cause blood pressure to drop. However, dehydration does not always cause low blood pressure. Fever, vomiting, severe diarrhea, overuse of diuretics and strenuous exercise can all lead to dehydration, a potentially serious condition in which your body loses more water than you take in. Even mild dehydration can cause weakness, dizziness and fatigue.
  • Lack of concentration
  • Depression

Q How Do I Know If I Have Low Blood Pressure

Activity for Low Blood Pressure
  • If you suffer from any of the symptoms of low blood pressure as listed above, such as frequent palpitations, irregular breathing, instances of loss of consciousness, skin that is often cold and clammy to the touch, you may be suffering from low blood pressure. It is best to check with your doctor before implementing any low blood pressure diet or lifestyle change.
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    How Is Low Blood Pressure Treated

    If your blood pressure is naturally low and isnt causing you any problems it probably wont need any treatment. If you have symptoms and your doctor or nurse feels that you would benefit from treatment, they will try to find the cause of your low blood pressure so that they can find the best way to treat it.

    The treatments will vary depending on the cause.

    • A change in medications. If your GP thinks that your blood pressure is caused by a medication youre taking they might want to try an alternative medication or a different dose.
    • Hormone replacement. If your low blood pressure is caused by a change in certain hormones, for example if your adrenal glands have been damaged, you may be referred to a specialist called an endocrinologist. They might prescribe hormone replacement medication.
    • Medicines to stimulate your nerves. If you have a neurological condition, you may be given medicines to stimulate the nerves.
    • Medicines for low blood pressure. These medicines narrow your blood vessels or expand the volume of your blood to raise your blood pressure. These are very rarely needed, as the treatments listed above and the changes you can make for yourself are usually enough.

    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 .

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    What Is Systolic Blood Pressure

    When you get a blood pressure reading, youll see two numbers one on the top and one on the bottom. The top number is your systolic blood pressure, and this is the amount of pressure your heart creates as it beats to pump blood through your arteries. The bottom number is your diastolic blood pressure, which is the amount of pressure in your arteries in between heartbeats.

    Low systolic blood pressure is defined as being lower than 90, and low diastolic blood pressure is any number lower than 60.

    Low Systolic Blood Pressure

    Concerns with Low Blood Pressure

    Having low blood pressure is usually something everyone strives for. But when your systolic blood pressure gets too low, it can cause dizziness and fainting, and in some cases, can even be life threatening. If youve recently had your blood pressure checked and your systolic number was low, you might be wondering what it means and what you can do about it.

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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.

    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.

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    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.

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    Falls And Related Injuries

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    A sudden drop in blood pressure may make you feel dizzy, lightheaded, or even lose consciousness . These symptoms can come on quickly, causing falls or other injuries.

    Falls are a major cause of hospitalization for older adults. Older adults are more likely to experience hypotension after standing up or eating. Treatment and lifestyle changes can help you manage hypotension symptoms.

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    What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

    Low blood pressure often has no symptoms, but can sometimes mean that not enough blood is flowing to your brain or organs. This can cause symptoms such as:

    • feeling dizzy, faint or light-headed
    • feeling unsteady
    • suddenly noticing your heartbeat
    • fainting

    If you have these symptoms, stop what youre doing and sit down or lie down in case you fall, and drink some water.

    Speak to your doctor or nurse if you experience these symptoms. As well as being unpleasant, they could mean youre at risk of having a fall. They could also be a sign of another health problem.

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    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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    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.

    Medication Used To Treat Low Blood Pressure

    Can your Blood Pressure be too LOW…… YES anything less than 110/75 is a potential problem

    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.

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