When Low Blood Pressure Is An Emergency
If you frequently experience symptoms of low blood pressure, such as dizziness or fainting spells, you should consult a doctor. While low blood pressure, itself, usually isn’t fatal, there are serious medical situations where it is considered an emergency, and you should go to the hospital.
“The likelihood of dying from low blood pressure is low unless it is related to another disease process,” Weinberg says.
For example, a blood infection, or , can result in low blood pressure. Sepsis occurs when the chemicals released by the body to fight an infection trigger widespread inflammation, resulting in blood clotting that reduces blood flow to vital organs, such as your heart, kidneys, and brain. This can progress to septic shock and very low blood pressure, which may be fatal, and should be treated immediately.
Low blood pressure can also be affiliated with Addison’s disease a disorder in which the adrenal glands do not produce enough cortisol, a hormone that helps your body respond to stress. Lack of cortisol production can cause addisonian crisis, which is characterized by low blood pressure and can be fatal without proper treatment.
The treatment for low blood pressure varies depending on the cause. In severe cases, someone might need intravenous therapy to deliver fluids into the veins and raise blood pressure. In critical situations, such as septic shock, doctors may use drug therapies either orally or through an IV to quickly raise blood pressure.
What Other Medications Can Accidentally Cause Low Blood Pressure
There are a variety of other medications that can unintentionally cause your blood pressure to drop, including cardiovascular drugs, diuretics, and beta blockers that are used to treat high blood pressure. Drugs used to treat erectile dysfunction can also result in low blood pressure, as can certain antidepressants, as well as medications prescribed for Parkinsons disease.
Severe Hypotension Related To Shock
While some of the causes of severe hypotension in shock may also cause orthostatic hypotension, the blood pressure drop is much more severe with the formerand it doesn’t return to normal.
The causes of hypotensive shock include:
- Major blood loss
- Severe fluid loss from diarrhea, burns, or overuse of diuretics
- Cardiogenic shock due heart attack, arrhythmia, or pulmonary embolism
- Vasodilatory shock seen in head injury, liver failure, poisoning, or anaphylaxis.
Shock is a medical emergency and you must call 9-1-1 to get medical help.
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What Causes Low Blood Pressure And High Pulse Rate
Low blood pressure can cause high pulse rate. Also, in certain types of arrhythmias high pulse rate can result in fall in the blood pressure. High pulse rate refers to pulse greater than 100 per minute, and is also referred to as tachycardia.
High pulse rate or tachycardia is often associated with low blood pressure. Tachycardia is a reflex response to fall in blood pressure. When the blood pressure is low and the tissues of the body are not receiving adequate perfusion, the body raises heart rate in order to compensate for the low perfusion. Therefore, almost all causes of low blood pressure will result in low blood pressure with tachycardia.
Normal person with no symptoms and no primary disease condition will usually have normal pulse rate. In athletes and those who do regular exercise, both blood pressure and pulse rate might be low. This also is absolutely normal finding and requires no treatment.
Further evaluation is always necessary to ascertain the cause of low blood pressure and high pulse rate. Treatment is dependent upon the primary condition resulting in the hypotension and tachycardia.
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:
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Low Blood Pressure Also Known As Hypotension Is When You Have A Blood Pressure Level That Is Below The Normal Range
If your blood pressure is naturally low, this probably wont cause you any problems and wont need treating. In fact, the lower your blood pressure, the lower your risk of heart disease and stroke.
Low blood pressure can sometimes be caused by medications or can be a sign of another health problem. This can sometimes cause problems such as falls, fainting and feeling dizzy, so it might need looking into and treating. Speak to your doctor or nurse if youre worried about low blood pressure.
Plus, take a look at the animation below on how to manage low blood pressure when you stand up.
Signs Of High Or Low Blood Pressure
Low blood pressure numbers could mean that essential parts of your body like the brain and heart arent receiving enough blood. Some people can have low numbers without it causing them any issues. Others experience symptoms that may show a link between their hypotension and other health problems.
Some common signs of low blood pressure include:
- Heart problems
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Dr Rupali Datta Clinical Dietitian At Fortis
1. Eat small portions frequently: Sneak healthy snacking sessions in-between the major meals of the day to avoid long gaps. Eating small portions several times of the day helps in preventing the sudden drop in blood pressure that one may experience after meals. So, if you are eating three full meals a day, it would be better to rather have them distributed in to five small meals a day. This one’s a great home remedy for also people who have diabetes.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: eat small portions frequently
2. Have adequate salt: Excess salt is bad, but on the other hand it is required by your body in moderate quantities. According to the World Health Organisation, your daily diet must contain at one teaspoon of added salt besides what you derive from natural from fruits and vegetables. In summers or if you exercise daily, keep some lime water with a pinch of salt handy. Salt works like an instant pick-me-up. Make sure you do not have too much salt too that may lead to problems like water retention along with high blood pressure.
Home remedies for low blood pressure: Excess salt is bad, but it is required by your body in moderate quantitiesHome remedies for low blood pressure: Drink at least 2 to 3 litres of water every dayHome remedies for low blood pressure: Caffeinated beverages like tea or coffee may help boost your blood pressureHome remedies for low blood pressure: Chew five to six tulsi leaves every morning
When To See The Doctor
If you have had episodes where you feel faint or have fainted, see your doctor. In many cases, an episode of low blood pressure is nothing to worry about, but some people may have an underlying problem that needs treatment.
Treating low blood pressure will help reduce symptoms and lower the chances of you fainting or falling and injuring yourself.
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Are Certain People More Likely To Have Low Blood Pressure
Some people, especially if you have diabetes, are at a higher risk of your blood pressure temporarily dropping after eating or when getting up from a chair or from lying down in bed, for example. The former is whats called postprandial hypotension and the latter is orthostatic hypotension. Normally, when you’re digesting food, or when you change your body position from sitting to standing, your cardiovascular system adapts by beating harder as well as more rapidly, and constricting the diameter of certain blood vessels, such as those far from your intestine where digestion occurs. These physiological changes all collaborate to maintain your blood pressure. But, if these changes do not occur fast or adequately enough, your blood pressure can drop, sometimes to dangerous levels.
Treatment Of Orthostatic Hypotension
Orthostatic hypotension may occasionally require treatment with medicines. However, the following self-care measures can often help relieve symptoms.
- Stand up slowly, especially if you have been sitting or lying down for a long time.
- Move your legs around before changing positions.
- Drink plenty of fluids to avoid becoming dehydrated.
- Reduce your intake of alcohol.
- Avoid very hot showers and baths.
- If you get low blood pressure after eating, sit still or lie down after meals, and try eating smaller amounts more frequently.
- If you have had a period of prolonged bed rest, slowly increase the amount of time you spend sitting up.
In addition, there are steps you can take to prevent symptoms occurring, for example, tilting the bed head upwards, taking salt supplements and wearing supportive stockings.
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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:
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 .
Conditions That Can Cause Low Blood Pressure
Certain conditions can cause long periods of hypotension that can become dangerous if left untreated. These conditions include:
- pregnancy, due to an increase in demand for blood from both the pregnant person and the growing fetus
- impaired circulation caused by a heart attack or heart condition
- dehydration, for example if youre vomiting and cant keep liquids down, or have severe diarrhea
- endocrine disorders, such as diabetes, adrenal insufficiency, and thyroid disease
- autonomic dysfunction, damage to the nerves that control some bodily functions
- prolonged bed rest
What To Do If Your Blood Pressure Is Too Low
Drops in blood pressure occur when less blood reaches the brain than usual and, therefore, oxygenation is also lower. Although some people have hypotension, drops in blood pressure or faintingnormally occur in a timely manner, being more common in summer. It is necessary to know what should be done if a person is in this situation, so on OneHowTo we explain what to do if your pressure is too low.
When a drop in blood pressure occurs, symptoms such as dizziness, vertigo, nausea, blurred vision, weakness, fainting… are presented. At the appearance of the first signs it will be necessary that the person suffering from hypotension lies down on the floor with legs raised. Thus, they will help blood to flow more easily get to the brain.
Keep the person with their legs about 45 degrees to the ground for a few minutes to facilitate oxygenation, which has been reduced due to the lipothymy or drop in blood pressure.
It will also be convenient to loosen the clothing of the person who has suffered from a drop in blood pressure, to facilitate breathing. You may need to fan them and it will be essential to avoid crowds around them.
If conscious, give them a sugary or caffeinated drink -such as coke or some sweets to revitalize them and increase their blood glucose level.
If you want to read similar articles to What to do if your blood pressure is too low, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.
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Treatment Of Sudden Severe Hypotension
Serious conditions that cause a sudden drop in blood pressure need urgent medical treatment in hospital. Treatment will depend on the cause, but will often include measures to raise blood pressure. Depending on the cause and severity of the condition, these may include:
- fluids given via a drip into a vein
- a blood transfusion or
- medicines to elevate blood pressure.
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.
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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.
Falls And Related Injuries
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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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 To See A Doctor
What does low blood pressure feel like? Now you know the answer, so if you feel dizzy or have any other symptoms, do consult your doctor. Sometimes low blood pressure can be a sign of some serious underlying medical problems. It is a good idea to record your blood pressure readings and note the associated symptoms.
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Low Blood Pressure Definition And Facts
- Low blood pressure, also called hypotension, is blood pressure low enough that the flow of blood to the organs of the body is inadequate and symptoms and/or signs of low blood flow develop.
- Low pressure alone, without symptoms or signs, usually is not unhealthy.
- The symptoms of low blood pressure include lightheadedness, dizziness, and fainting. These symptoms are most prominent when individuals go from the lying or sitting position to the standing position .
- Low blood pressure that causes an inadequate flow of blood to the body’s organs can cause strokes, heart attacks, and kidney failure. The most severe form is shock.
- Common causes of low blood pressure include a reduced volume of blood, heart disease, and medications.
- The cause of low blood pressure can be determined with blood tests, radiologic studies, and cardiac testing to look for heart failure and arrhythmias.
- Treatment of low blood pressure is determined by the cause of the low pressure.
About Heart And Vascular Institute
The UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute has long been a leader in cardiovascular care, with a rich history in clinical research and innovation. As one of the first heart transplant centers in the country and as the developer of one of the first heart-assist devices, UPMC has contributed to advancing the field of cardiovascular medicine.
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