How To Check Your Blood Pressure
You can check your blood pressure:
- at home yourself using a home blood pressure monitor – talk to your GP about home monitors
Low blood pressure is a measurement of 90/60mmHg or lower.
The first number is the highest pressure when your heart beats and pumps blood around your body. The second number is the lowest pressure when your heart relaxes between beats.
See a GP if you have low blood pressure and keep getting symptoms such as dizziness.
Causes Of Low Blood Pressure
Your blood pressure can vary depending on the time of day. It gradually increases throughout the day.
What you’re doing and how you’re feeling can also affect it.
There are many possible causes of low blood pressure. It may be low because you’re fit and healthy, or you may have inherited it from your parents.
Some people develop low blood pressure as they get older.
It can also be caused by:
- being pregnant
How Is High Blood Pressure Caused
Too high blood pressure tends to result from a build up of cholesterol within the walls of blood vessels. This causes narrowing of the blood vessels, restricting blood flow and raising blood pressure.
Narrowed arteries raises the risk of heart problems and stroke if too little blood gets to these vital organs or if a blood clot blocks the blood flow to them.
Sometimes, other conditions can cause high blood pressure such as diabetic nephropathy, kidney or hormone problems.
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How To Check Blood Pressure With No Cuff
This article was co-authored by Erik Kramer, DO, MPH. Dr. Erik Kramer is a Primary Care Physician at the University of Colorado, specializing in internal medicine, diabetes, and weight management. He received his Doctorate in Osteopathic Medicine from the Touro University Nevada College of Osteopathic Medicine in 2012. Dr. Kramer is a Diplomate of the American Board of Obesity Medicine and is board certified.There are 9 references cited in this article, which can be found at the bottom of the page. This article has been viewed 95,961 times.
Your blood pressure measure the force your blood exerts on the sides of the blood vessels as it moves around your body and is an important indicator of your health. Blood pressure monitoring should be done with a cuff and a stethoscope instruments that most people do not have at home, but are necessary for an accurate reading. If you want to check if your systolic blood pressure is normal, you can use your pulse for a rough estimate. Diastolic blood pressure must always be done with an arm cuff or stethoscope.XResearch source
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
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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.
What Are The Risk Factors For High Blood Pressure
- High blood pressure can be experienced by people with certain risk factors. Know them to understand if you are at risk and to know if your blood pressure is high.As age advances, the risks of high blood pressure increases.
- A family history of blood pressure can increase your risk too.
- If you weight more than what is ideal, it increases the volume of blood circulated, thus increasing the pressure on the arteries.
- If you are used to a sedentary lifestyle and have not being active, your chances of having high blood pressure can increase.
- Dietary factors like excess salt, too much consumption of oily and fried food can put you at an increased risk of high blood pressure and other problems like high cholesterol.
- Taking low amounts of potassium can also disturb the balance and cause excess accumulation of sodium in the blood.
- Inadequate vitamin D levels can interfere with an enzyme production in the kidneys, which plays an important role in regulating blood pressure.
- Consumption of alcohol, smoking and use of tobacco, in general increases the risk of several medical ailments including high blood pressure.
- Lifestyle habits play an important role and stress can add to your risk of having high blood pressure.
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What Is Low Blood Pressure/hypotension
Low blood pressure or hypotension is a condition where the systolic and diastolic pressure falls below 90 and 60 respectively. Blood pressure is usually measured in millimetres of mercury, and normal blood pressure is usually slightly less than 120/80 mm Hg.
To have low blood pressure is not always a concern however, chronic hypotension can cause a lack of blood flow to the brain, causing dizziness, blackouts or loss of consciousness, and may even be life-threatening in severe cases.
More often, low blood pressure is a symptom of a different concern, such as plaque build-up, a heart disorder or aging related medical conditions, making it necessary to pay attention to signs of low blood pressure in its initial stages.
Living With Low Blood Pressure
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure. Your doctor can recommend steps you can take to manage your low blood pressure. These actions can help control the condition:
Drink more water. This can help avoid dehydration.
Medicines and lifestyle changes can help you live safely with chronic low blood pressure.
Avoid alcohol. Alcoholic beverages are dehydrating, and alcohol changes how medicines work in your body.
Slow down. Take your time when standing up. If lying down, sit up first. Then wiggle your feet and move your legs. This will increase circulation and get your heart rate up so that you dont feel lightheaded when you stand up.
If your medicine and lifestyle changes do not reduce your low blood pressure symptoms, talk with your doctor about other changes you can make.
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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.
How To Check Blood Pressure Without Equipment
In a healthy young adult, the average value of blood pressure is usually 120/80 millimeters of mercury .
But what do these numbers mean? The first number represents the systolic pressure or amount of pressure generated while the heart pumps blood and then contracts for the blood to leave the heart.
In simple terms, the systolic pressure measures the pressure created by the contractions of the heart.
On the other hand, the second value measures the diastolic pressure, which is the pressure existing in the arteries of the heart while it rests.
Expressed in simple terms, the diastolic pressure readings measure the pressure of the heart when it is at rest.
These two figures combine to give doctors an accurate reading of heart muscle function.
If the numbers are too high, this is the first indication of a possible condition called high blood pressure or hypertension.
Although it is impossible to adequately measure blood pressure without some type of equipment, you can make a good estimate of the systolic pressure.
To measure the diastolic pressure, however, you should use a blood pressure monitor and a stethoscope. No measurement requires the use of high-tech equipment or a doctors diploma.
Through this article, you will learn how to measure blood pressure with little or no equipment.
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Check Your Blood Pressure
The only way of knowing whether you have low blood pressure is to have a blood pressure test.
All adults over 40 are advised to have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. Getting this done is easy and could save your life. If you have problems with your blood pressure, it is likely your GP will advise more regular checks.
You can get your blood pressure tested at a number of places, including:
- at your GP surgery
Postural Or Orthostatic Hypotension
Postural or orthostatic hypotension occurs when your blood pressure falls after a sudden movement. For example, you may feel dizzy or faint after changing posture, such as sitting up from a lying position, or standing up from a sitting position. This may cause you to lose your balance and fall over. You may also feel light-headed, have blurred vision, or lose consciousness.
The symptoms of postural or orthostatic hypotension should only last a few minutes as your blood pressure adjusts to your new position. This type of low blood pressure tends to affect people more as they get older when it can lead to more frequent falls. Similar symptoms may also occur after exercise.
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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.
Exercise For Low Blood Pressure
Everyday exercise such as a 30-minute walk or light running can serve to improve circulation and alleviate any existing symptoms of low blood pressure. It is best to go with a companion if already a patient of hypotension, in case episodes of blurry vision, giddiness, or fainting happen during these times.
It is necessary to avoid undue stress to the body and sudden, jerky movements through heavy lifting and other strenuous exercise so that the flow of movement is smooth. Discipline and consistency regarding exercise aids the underlying causes of low blood pressure, while alleviating its symptoms as well.
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What Is Blood Pressure
Blood pressure is the measure of how hard your blood pushes against the walls of your arteries as it moves through your body. Your body is designed to adjust your blood pressure to make sure your organs and tissue receive enough oxygen.
Blood pressure is indicated by two numbers formatted as a fraction, like 120/80. The systolic number indicates how hard your blood pushes when your heart pumps, and the diastolic number measures how hard your blood pushes between heartbeats when your heart relaxes and fills with blood.
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.
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How Is Low Blood Pressure Diagnosed
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and take your blood pressure by placing a blood pressure cuff around your upper arm. The cuff will tighten on your arm, and the monitor will measure your systolic and diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of 90/60 mm Hg is considered low blood pressure.
Low blood pressure may be a sign of an underlying condition, so your doctor will try to determine what caused your blood pressure to drop. Depending on your medical history and symptoms, your doctor may also check your heart using an echocardiogram, electrocardiogram, or stress test. Your doctor may also perform blood tests to check for:
- Hormonal imbalances.
When To Contact A Medical Professional
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 – low Postprandial hypotension Orthostatic hypotension Neurally mediated hypotension NMH
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When To See Your Gp
You should see your GP if you have frequent symptoms of low blood pressure. Your GP can measure your blood pressure and help identify any underlying causes of the problem.
All adults should have their blood pressure checked at least every five years. If you haven’t had yours measured or don’t know what your reading is, ask your practice nurse or GP to check it.
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.
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In Most Cases High Blood Pressure Does Not Cause Headaches Or Nosebleeds
- The best evidence indicates that high blood pressure does not cause headaches or nosebleeds, except in the case of hypertensive crisis, a medical emergency when blood pressure is 180/120 mm Hg or higher. If your blood pressure is unusually high AND you have headache or nosebleed and are feeling unwell, wait five minutes and retest. If your reading remains at 180/120 mm Hg or higher, call 911.
- If you are experiencing severe headaches or nosebleeds and are otherwise unwell, contact your doctor as they could be symptoms of other health conditions.
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.
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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.