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How To Tell If Blood Pressure Is Low

How Do I Know If My Blood Pressure Is Too Low

How do you know if you have High Blood Pressure?

Symptoms of low blood pressure include light headedness, vision changes, passing out, or fatigue. Frequently in elderly people it can occur with changes in position. People on medications to help lower blood pressure are sometimes overmedicated and can have this problem as well. The only way of knowing for sure whether you have low blood pressure, is to monitor it.

What Are The Risk Factors

Syncope is common, but adults over age 80 are at greater risk of hospitalization and death.

Younger people without cardiac disease but who’ve experienced syncope while standing or have specific stress or situational triggers aren’t as likely to experience cardiac syncope.

Cardiac syncope is a higher risk in: people older than age 60 men presence of known heart disease brief palpitations or sudden loss of consciousness fainting during exertion fainting while supine an abnormal cardiac exam or family history of inheritable conditions. Other existing conditions and medications used are particularly important in older patients.

How Do I Know If I Have High Or Low Blood Pressure Numbers

Measuring your blood pressure gives you an idea about the amount of force generated by blood pushing against the walls of your arteries as it travels throughout your body. Blood pressure can change throughout the day for various reasons, but having consistently high or low blood pressure could be a sign of a serious health condition.

You measure your blood pressure using two sets of numbers. The first measures your systolic blood pressure, the stress placed on your artery walls from your beating heart. The second measures your diastolic blood pressure, which tells you the level of pressure applied when your heart pauses between beats.

Various methods are available to check your blood pressure. You can find out your numbers by:

  • Making an appointment with a doctor
  • Visiting a pharmacy that has a digital blood pressure machine available for public use
  • Buying and using a home blood pressure monitor

The typical blood pressure range for most people is between 90/60 mm Hg and 120/80 mm Hg. If your numbers are outside that range, you may be dealing with high or low blood pressure also known as hypertension and hypotension, respectively.

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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 90,879 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

Medication Used To Treat Low Blood Pressure

How to tell if you have high blood pressure # ...

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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Who Is At Risk Of Having Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure typically isnt a problem for most adults. However, if your blood pressure drops suddenly or you experience symptoms, it may cause serious side effects. The U.S. National Library of Medicine indicates that a drop as little as 20 mmHg can cause problems.

So what causes your blood pressure to drop and when does it put you at risk? Minor and temporary things can affect blood pressure, like getting up too fast after sitting, standing for long periods of time, or dehydration. Similarly, certain health conditions are risk factors for hypotension, including:

  • Heart conditions
  • Serious trauma
  • Shock caused by blood loss

If you experience low blood pressure, youre at a higher risk for fainting and shock, which can require medical treatment if vital organs. Keep track of your blood pressure regularly so you get to know whats normal for you and what may be too low. A single measurement lower than normal isnt cause for alarm but if you experience other symptoms, talk to your doctor.

For more information about low blood pressure or to find a doctor, contact the UPMC Heart and Vascular Institute.

How Do I Know If I Have Low Blood Pressure

Low blood pressure is not always a sign of a problem. But if you have symptoms of low blood pressure, your doctor can diagnose the condition and uncover the cause. Symptoms of dizziness and lightheadedness when you stand up from sitting or lying down — with a decrease in your blood pressure — may indicate a condition called postural hypotension. A wide range of underlying conditions may also cause your symptoms. It’s important to identify the cause of low blood pressure so appropriate treatment can be given.

The doctor will look at your medical history, age, specific symptoms, and the conditions under which the symptoms occurred. They will do a physical exam and may repeatedly check your blood pressure and pulse rate — after you’ve been lying down for a few minutes, right after you stand up, and within a few minutes after you stand quietly.

Other tests may be performed, such as an ECG to measure heart rate and rhythm and an echocardiogram . You may also have blood tests to look for anemia or problems with your blood sugar levels.

More sophisticated home ECG monitoring may be necessary to check for heart problems that come and go or an irregular heart beat that can cause your blood pressure to drop suddenly.

An exercise stress test or, less commonly, an electrophysiology test may also be helpful.

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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.

What Constitutes High Blood Pressure

How To Lower Your Blood Pressure In 2 Minutes-It’s Easy

High blood pressure, also called hypertension, happens when the heart pumps blood against the artery walls at higher pressures than normal. It doesnt cause any symptoms, so the only way to know whether its high is to check it. But it isnt diagnosed from just one reading. You need at least two or more readings on two or more separate days before you can know whether you have high blood pressure. This is because your blood pressure changes from day to day and throughout each day, depending on what youre doing. It can increase temporarily from:

  • Caffeine

  • Stress or anxiety

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How Can You Tell If You Have Low Blood Pressure

Signs of low blood pressure include fainting, blurred vision, nausea, thirst, dizziness and a lack of concentration, according to Mayo Clinic. Often low blood pressure has no symptoms. There is usually an underlying cause if severe symptoms of low blood pressure occur.

Optimal blood pressure for an adult is 120/80 mm Hg, as reported by the American Heart Association, or AHA. The systolic pressure, or the first number, should not be greater than 120. The diastolic pressure, or the second number, should be less than 80. Some people naturally have low blood pressure, which is considered to be around 85/55 mm Hg. If the person is not experiencing any negative side effects, the AHA says often his or her physician will simply monitor the blood pressure on an annual basis.

When symptoms of low blood pressure appear, however, is when it may be a cause for concern. When the blood pressure is too low, the body may not receive enough oxygen to function correctly, as stated by WebMD. The AHA lists some underlying issues that may cause low blood pressure:

  • Lengthy bed rest, perhaps due to illness or recovery from surgery
  • Blood pressure may drop at some point in the first 24 weeks of pregnancy
  • Significant blood loss from trauma
  • Certain medications
  • Nutritional deficiencies, such as a lack of B-12 or folic acid

Look For Warnings Related To High Blood Pressure Or Hbp Medication

Always read the labels on all over-the-counter medications, especially if you have high blood pressure . Look for warnings to those with high blood pressure and to those who take blood pressure medications. If you have high blood pressure and certainly if you are on prescription medication, consult your healthcare professional before taking any OTC medications or supplements.

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Treatment Of Low Blood Pressure

Unless accompanied by other conditions, low blood pressure is usually easy to treat and does not require much medication. Often, a low blood pressure diet may be prescribed, or a change in lifestyle may become necessary. Common recommendations include:

Increased intake of water: Dehydration can cause an electrolyte imbalance resulting in signs of low blood pressure, and care towards adequate hydration would be important, especially in high temperature situations, during fevers or dysentery.

Increased sodium in diet: Salted nuts, cheeses and cured fish and meats are high in sodium content, and would help stabilize blood pressure in case it is very low. Care must be taken to not overdo it, however, and for a balance to be maintained.

Limiting alcohol consumption: Alcohol consumption can cause fluctuation in heart rate and limiting its consumption for some time will help alleviate symptoms of low blood pressure in otherwise healthy individuals.

Exercise: Light exercises not involving much strain to the body help improve circulation of blood throughout, and keep the heart healthy. In cases of low blood pressure, it is important to be aware of its symptoms such as palpitations and cold skin so that exercising does not aggravate the condition.

Ceasing any aggravating medication:If intake of certain medication is seen to cause dips in blood pressure, your doctor may recommend a substitute for the drug, or even stopping its consumption till pressure is stabilized.

What Can I Do For Myself

What should I do if I

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 .

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When Is Hypotension A Problem

Regular hypotension is not an issue if youre an adult in good health who does not experience any negative symptoms, says Dr. Anand. But if low blood pressure is unexpected and sudden , or in any of the following instances, a doctor visit is essential:

You experience lightheadedness, dizziness, fainting or confusion.

Why you should see your doctor:Symptoms like dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting spells are a concern because of the potential for harm should they occur while someones doing a critical task like driving a car, working with machinery or caring for a young child, says Dr. Anand. Your doctor can check to ensure your low blood pressure isnt a sign of any other conditions, and can also make suggestions for lifestyle changes that may lessen symptoms. Some suggestions may include, standing up more slowly after sitting, drinking more water, avoiding alcohol or caffeine, and wearing compression stockings.

You are a senior citizen.

Why you should see your doctor: Blood pressure regulation can decline with age, or other medication youre on, so its important your doctor assess your overall health, diet and prescription medication regimen.

You are pregnant.

You are on certain types of prescription medication.

What Do Blood Pressure Numbers Mean

Your blood pressure reading consists of two numbers, such as 120/80. One number is your systolic blood pressure and the other is your diastolic pressure.

  • Systolic blood pressure: The first number . This is the pressure when the heart pumps blood out to the rest of the body.

  • Diastolic blood pressure: The second number . This is the pressure when blood returns to the heart.

Both pressures are measured in millimeters of mercury . This is because blood pressure used to be measured using a device filled with a column of mercury. Now, blood pressure can be checked using an automated machine at home or in your providers office. Blood pressure can still be checked by hand, too, with a stethoscope, inflatable cuff, and manual gauge.

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What Does Blood Pressure Tell You

Blood pressure measures the force of your blood pushing against the walls of your arteries, or blood vessels. Your heart pumps blood into your arteries. And the arteries carry that blood to the rest of your body.

The top number of your blood pressure reading tells you the force of the blood against artery walls when your heart beats. It is called systolic pressure. The bottom number tells you what your blood pressure is when your heart is at rest between heartbeats. It is called diastolic pressure.

How To Raise Your Blood Pressure

3 Ways to Tell if You Have High Blood Pressure Symptoms

Some of the healthy tips that can prevent or help you to raise your blood pressure include the following.

  • Fluid Intake. Increase the water intake, dont wait for the time you feel thirsty. Avoid alcoholic beverage, as they often cause more dehydration. Tomato juices or sports drink might also help.
  • Salt Intake. Sodium, which is present in salt, is necessary to help maintain blood pressure and must be consumed as per the daily requirement. For those who are consistently having low blood pressure and not suffering from high blood pressure, increasing salt intake can help.
  • Get a Leg Up. While rising from the bed, make a little bit up and down leg movement to get the blood flowing. This prevents pooling of blood in one area, warms up the muscles to improve blood circulation. This prevents sudden dropping of blood pressure on raising up.
  • Leg and Lower Belly Support. Pooling of blood , which is a common cause of low blood pressure on standing from a lying down position can also be relieved by using stockings. Compression stockings which are thigh high or waist-high are best to squeeze the legs, and prove to be really helpful in maintaining blood pressure, particularly for people with postural hypotension.
  • Eat Small Frequent Meals. Blood pressure also drops on eating large and heavy meals. Eating small frequent meals throughout the day help in maintaining blood pressure. So, in to raise your blood pressure if it is too low, have often, but make sure it is healthy food.
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    Changing The Body’s 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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