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How Low Should Blood Pressure Be

What Is Normal Blood Pressure

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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 .

Keep Track Of Your Blood Pressure

Remember, high blood pressure has no symptoms. So the only way to know if its high or getting higher is to check it regularly.

If you and your doctor decide you need medicine, its not a defeat. Lots of people get high blood pressure eventually. And its not an excuse to give up on healthy habits either. Youll get the most benefit from your blood pressure drugs if you combine regular exercise, a good diet, and a healthy weight.

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Causes And Risk Factors Of High Blood Pressure

For most people, theres no single cause of high blood pressure. But we know some things can make you more at risk. These are called risk factors, and one of these is having diabetes.

High levels of sugar in your blood can lead to something called atherosclerosis. This is when theres a build-up of fatty material inside your blood vessels, narrowing them. The narrower the blood vessels, the more the pressure builds up.

The more stress your blood vessels are under, the harder it is to push blood around the important areas of your body. This means your feet, eyes and heart are seriously at risk.

There are other risk factors you cant do much about:

  • your age
  • a family history of high blood pressure
  • if your ethnic background is African-Caribbean or Black African

And there are risk factors you do have control over:

  • too much salt in your diet
  • being overweight
  • how you cope with stress
  • drinking too much caffeine, such as coffee

If you make changes to your diet and lifestyle, you can reduce your risk of developing high blood pressure. Were not saying its easy, but its vital you understand how you can do this. Theres lots of support to help you and achieve your goals.

Prevention And Management Of Low Diastolic Blood Pressure

How Low Should Blood Pressure Go?

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.

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Diastolic Blood Pressure: How Low Is Too Low

  • May 17, 2015

Blood pressure consists of two numbers. Systolic pressure, the force exerted on blood vessels when the heart beats, is the upper number. Diastolic pressure, the force exerted when the heart is at rest, is on the bottom in more ways than one. Systolic pressure attracts the lions share of attention from physicians and patients, says UAB cardiologist Jason Guichard, M.D., Ph.D.

Physicians are busy people, and like it or not they often focus on a single number, Guichard said. Systolic blood pressure is the focus, and diastolic pressure is almost completely ignored. That is a mistake, he argues. The majority of your arteries feed your organs during systole. But your coronary arteries are different they are surrounding the aortic valve, so they get blood only when the aortic valve closes and that happens in diastole.

Diastolic pressure has been getting more attention lately, however, thanks in part to an influential paper in Hypertension, written in 2011 by Guichard and Ali Ahmed, M.D., then a professor of medicine in UABs Division of Gerontology, Geriatrics and Palliative Care and now the associate chief of staff for Health and Aging at the Veterans Affairs Medical Center in Washington, D.C.

Most people are trying to lower their blood pressure. What would you define as too low, and why is that a problem?

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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Healthy And Unhealthy Blood Pressure Ranges

Learn whats considered normal, as recommended by the American Heart Association.

Blood Pressure Chart

SYSTOLIC mm Hg and/or DIASTOLIC mm Hg
NORMAL
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 1 130 139
HIGH BLOOD PRESSURE STAGE 2 140 OR HIGHER
HYPERTENSIVE CRISIS HIGHER THAN 180 and/or HIGHER THAN 120

Note: A diagnosis of high blood pressure must be confirmed with a medical professional. A doctor should also evaluate any unusually low blood pressure readings.

The five blood pressure ranges as recognized by the American Heart Association are:

When To Call Your Healthcare Provider

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

A hypertensive crisisdefined as blood pressure above 180/120 mm Hgrequires immediate medical attention. Call 911 if you are also experiencing symptoms such as chest pain, back pain, shortness of breath, difficulty speaking, a change in vision, weakness, or numbness.

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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.

Read more about how .

A New Number To Aim For

While 140/90 continues to be the blood pressure cutoff, a study published in the Nov. 26, 2015 issue of The New England Journal of Medicine shows that lowering pressure to around 120/80 may reap greater benefits.

Researchers examined the initial results from the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial, or SPRINT, which studied 9,361 adults over age 50 who either had hypertension or were at a high risk for cardiovascular disease.

The subjects were divided into two groups. The first received an intensive treatment to lower blood pressure to less than 120/80. The other group followed a standard treatment to lower it to less than 140/90.

After three years, the researchers found that the group with the target of below 120/80 had a 25% lower risk of heart attack, stroke, or cardiovascular death compared with those with the standard target of less than 140/90. They also had 27% fewer deaths from any cause.

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How To Properly Interpret Blood Pressure Levels

Because blood pressure is different for every person, there are no specific limits except for excessively high blood pressure values for when it is advisable to see a doctor. However, if the levels rise excessively or the person has symptoms such as shortness of breath, sensations of pressure in the chest, dizziness, or nausea, they should seek medical attention immediately.

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Recent Findings Raise Concerns About Lowering Diastolic Blood Pressure The Second Number In Your Blood Pressure Reading Too Far

Low Blood Pressure (Hypotension)

More of us than ever before are taking medications to lower our blood pressure. Longstanding guidelines suggest that most people should aim for a systolic blood pressure no higher than 140 millimeters of mercury . But in 2015, the results of the Systolic Blood Pressure Intervention Trial suggested that reaching a target of 120 mm Hg could further reduce the risks associated with high blood pressure, including heart attack, stroke, heart failure, and death.

Yet reaching that lower target often requires three blood pressure medications, which can increase the likelihood of side effects. Two observational studies and one clinical trial have raised concerns about lowering blood pressure particularly diastolic pressure too far. Diastolic blood pressure represents the pressure between beats when the heart relaxes. “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.

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What Are The Side Effects Of The Treatment For Low Blood Pressure

There are no side effects for the lifestyle and dietary changes that can treat hypotension.

The medications used to treat hypotension have several side effects, some of which may be serious. Fludrocortisone can make certain infections worse, so its essential to discuss this medication with your doctor. The most common side effects from fludrocortisone are:

  • Increased risk of infection.

The most common side effects from midodrine are:

  • Numbness or tingling.
  • Goosebumps and chills.

Blood Pressure: How Low To Go

Sept. 11, 2015 — When it comes to treating high blood pressure, lower is better, a new study shows.

The study, which was stopped early on Friday because the results were so clear and positive for one group of patients, found that getting high blood pressure back down to normal levels — at least 120/80 — dramatically cuts the risk of heart attacks, strokes, and deaths compared to currently recommended BP targets.

âMonday morning, this will be all we talk about,â says Mary Norine Walsh, MD, a cardiologist and vice president of the American College of Cardiology.

âThis can have a very large effect on thousands and thousands of people. One in three people in the United States have hypertension, and the majority of those people are over the age of 50,â says Walsh, who was not involved in the research.

The results are contrary to current clinical guidelines. New blood pressure targets released last year advised doctors to loosen treatment targets for patients with high blood pressure. Most patients over age 60, for example, were advised to shoot for a goal of 150/90.

âThe trend, I think, in the thinking of the community of physicians who treat high blood pressure has really been more towards higher goals,â says David Reboussin, PhD, professor of public health sciences at Wake Forest Baptist Medical Center in Winston-Salem, N.C. Reboussin was part of a team of doctors who led the study for the National Institutes of Health.

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How Is High Blood Pressure Diagnosed

To figure out your blood pressure rate, your health care provider takes blood pressure readings at different times. You need more than 1 reading because blood pressure changes depending on what you are doing and varies during the day. For example, your blood pressure can increase when you are nervous or in a hurry.

If your blood pressure is high while with your health care provider but normal otherwise, you may just be nervous. This effect is common. Even people already being treated for high blood pressure go through this.

What matters is what happens to your blood pressure outside your health care providers office. If you have high blood pressure, you should use a home blood pressure monitor. Ask your health care provider how to use the monitor correctly.

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What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Concerns with Low Blood Pressure

Blood pressure readings are composed of two numbersfor example, 120/80 mm Hg.

The top number measures the pressure in your arteries when your heart beats. The bottom number measures the pressure in your arteries between each heart beat.

The standard unit of measure, mm Hg, stands for “millimeters of mercury.” Mercury pressure gauges have been replaced with electronic pressure gauges, but the abbreviation is still used.

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Check Your Blood Sugar

Diabetes and high blood sugar levels may lead to low blood pressure. Volume depletion can occur from the diuresis that follows high blood sugar levels. This is when your body tries to expel glucose via increased urination.

Consider using a home monitor to check your blood sugar levels throughout the day. See your doctor to find out the best diet, exercise, and medication plan to help balance blood sugar levels.

High Blood Pressure And Daily Activity

Check with your doctor before starting a new activity or increasing your level or intensity. Be active safely. Build up your levels of activity gradually.

Try to do at least 30 to 45 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, if not all, days of the week. This can be done in bouts of 10 minutes or longer, if that is more convenient.

Physical activity is any form of bodily movement performed by our large muscle groups. Moderate-intensity physical activity , such as brisk walking or cycling, is enough to provide health benefits.

Walking is a great activity for all ages. You may like to join one of the Heart Foundations community walking groups.

Some types of exercises, such as body presses and lifting heavy weights, can raise your blood pressure. Avoid these if you have high blood pressure.

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Low Diastolic Blood Pressure: Causes Treatment And More

Low diastolic blood pressure is when blood pressure between heartbeats is lower than it should be. Blood pressure is the force that blood exerts against the arteries as the heart pumps it around the body.

This article will take a closer look at low diastolic blood pressure, including its causes, symptoms, and treatments.

Blood pressure readings use two numbers recorded in millimeters of mercury . The two numbers measure:

Systolic blood pressure: This is the top number, and is the higher of the two. It measures how much pressure the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart beats.

Diastolic blood pressure: This is the lower number, which shows the pressure that the blood applies to the artery walls when the heart rests between beats.

A blood pressure reading will show the systolic blood pressure number first, and diastolic blood pressure second. A doctor will assess a persons blood pressure by considering both numbers. In most adults, a is usually less than 120/80 mm Hg. Low blood pressure, or hypotension, is blood pressure that is below 90/60 mm Hg.

Low diastolic blood pressure, or isolated diastolic blood pressure, is when the diastolic blood pressure falls below 60 mm Hg , while the systolic blood pressure remains at a normal level.

Symptoms Of Low Blood Pressure

How low should your blood pressure number go?

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

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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.

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