What Is A Normal Pulse Rate
A normal resting pulse rate for adults ranges from between 60 beats per minute and 100 bpm .
Athletes, or those who do a lot of cardio, may have heart rates around 40 bpm. Although their heart rates are abnormal, theyre still healthy because their hearts are strong enough to pump more blood per heartbeat.
Your normal heart rate depends on many variables such as the following:
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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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.
When Should You Call Your Doctor About Low Blood Pressure
If you have recurring dizziness or fainting, or other symptoms of low blood pressure, you should visit your doctor. Sudden drops in blood pressure can be dangerous. It is important for your doctor to determine why your blood pressure is dropping and treat the cause.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 10/08/2019.
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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.
Improving Health With Current Research
Learn about the following ways the NHLBI continues to translate current research into improved health for people with abnormally low blood pressure. Research on this topic is part of the NHLBIs broader commitment to advancing heart and vascular disease scientific discovery.
- Testing Treatments for Cardiac Arrest and Trauma. The Resuscitation Outcomes Consortium clinical trial network tested treatments to address high morbidity and mortality rates from out-of-hospital cardiac arrest and severe traumatic injury. ROC investigators compared different strategies for supplemental fluids in trauma patients who have low blood pressure. Other ROC studies found a link between low blood pressure readings and the need for emergency procedures.
- Understanding How Low Blood Pressure Affects Diverse Populations. NHLBI-supported researchers are studying low blood pressure in different populations. Investigators in the NHLBIs Atherosclerosis Risk in Communities Study found that people who have low blood pressure when standing up, known as orthostatic hypotension, are at higher risk for stroke. In a follow-up study of NHLBIs Honolulu Heart Program, researchers found older Japanese men who had orthostatic hypotension were nearly twice as likely to die within the next four years as those who did not have orthostatic hypotension. NHLBIs Cardiovascular Health Study found that orthostatic hypotension was common in older adults, increases with age, and is linked to cardiovascular diseases.
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Do This Before You Measure Body Temperature
Certain activities affect body temperature temporarily. For the best results, wait until the patients body has time to return to normal.
- Wait 30 minutes after eating, drinking a cold or hot liquid, or smoking
- Wait an hour after exercise or taking a hot shower or bath
Besides the site and activity, make note of the time of day.
How Do I Know If My Blood Pressure Is Low
If your blood pressure reading is lower than 90 over 60, your doctor will likely tell you that youve got hypotension.
But more often, its the symptoms of low blood pressure that are the first clue.
You may feel dizzy and nauseous. Youll experience a lack of energy, possibly a feeling of depression, and youll find it hard to think straight .
Other possible symptoms include blurry vision, clammy skin, rapid breathing and chest pain.
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What To Do If You Experience A Sudden Drop In Blood Pressure
A single low blood pressure reading is no cause to be concerned unless you experience other symptoms.
A sudden drop in blood pressure as little as a drop from 120 to 100 in your systolic number can be dangerous if it triggers dizziness and fainting. Such symptoms can be a sign of an underlying problem that may need medical attention.
You should keep a record of your activities and when symptoms happen to discuss them with your doctor. If you experience any low blood pressure symptoms related to shock, you should seek immediate medical attention.
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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Serious Injuries And Shock
Low blood pressure can also be caused by serious injuries or burns, particularly if you have lost a lot of blood. This can mean that there is less blood being pumped around your body. Low blood pressure can also occur if you go into shock after having a serious injury.
Other kinds of shock are described below.
Anaphylactic shock, or anaphylaxis, is caused by an allergic reaction to something – for example, a wasp sting or a peanut. During an allergic reaction, your body produces a large amount of a chemical called histamine, which causes your blood vessels to widen and leads to a sudden, severe drop in blood pressure.
Cardiogenic shock occurs when your heart cannot supply enough blood to your body, so your blood pressure drops. This can happen during a heart attack.
What Is Healthy Blood Pressure
The heart circulates blood throughout the body with every beat. The pressure exerted on the arteries during the heartbeat is called the systolic pressure. It is the first or top number in blood pressure measurement. The pressure exerted on the arteries between heartbeats is called the diastolic pressure. A blood pressure reading of less than 120/80 millimeters of mercury is considered normal.
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Hypotension Diagnosis And Treatments
After an episode of hypotension that includes many of the symptoms weve already covered, your doctor will likely call on a specialist to help diagnose the cause. Typically a cardiologist , will be called upon to perform an electrocardiogram . You may also undergo a stress test to test your heart under physical stress, or wear a Holter monitor to detect any irregularities in heart rhythm.
If a diagnosis cant be made, your doctor may recommend seeing a neurologist or a nephrologist . If your doctor suspects one of your medications is causing hypotension, your prescription may be changed or altered. Your treatment options will depend on the underlying condition causing the hypotension, as well as your overall health and age. In many cases, medications and/or lifestyle changes are recommended .
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.
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What Are Low Blood Pressure Signs And Symptoms
Many people live with low blood pressure but they don’t experience any symptoms. If that’s the case, the low blood pressure is of no consequence. However, others who have low blood pressure experience dizziness and lightheadedness. This is an indication that insufficient blood flow is reaching the brain. This, in turn, can lead to weakness, nausea, confusion, and blurry vision. Low blood pressure can affect other organs leading to shortness of breath, fainting, blacking out, chest pain, and cool, clammy skin.
How To Measure Respiration Rate
Respiration rate is measured by counting your breaths for one minute at rest. The best way to measure respiration rate is for someone to count your breaths for you without telling you when theyre counting. If youre observing your own breathing, you may try to breathe slower than usual, causing an inaccurate count.
Answer the following questions to help your medical provider diagnose abnormal respiration rates.
- Are you having difficulty breathing at rest?
- What is your depth of breathing?
- What is your breathing pattern?
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What Is A Normal Body Temperature
Normal body temperature ranges from 97.7 to 99.5°F . A healthy body functions best at 98.6°F , but everyone has their own normal. Body temperature varies depending on gender, time of day, activity level, food or fluid consumption, and the site measured. Or for women, the stage of the menstrual cycle.
Your body constantly adapts its temperature to your environment. It elevates during exercise and lowers during sleep. Its lowest when you wake up and highest later in the day.
Core body temperature is closely regulated by an area of the brain called the hypothalamus .
The hypothalamus compares your current temperature with the normal temperature of about 98.6°F. If your temperature is too low, the hypothalamus prompts your body to generate and retain heat. If your temperature is too high, your body releases heat or produces sweat to cool your skin.
What Is Blood Pressure
As blood pumps through the circulatory system, it pushes against the walls of the arteries and veins. Blood pressure is the force of the blood as it presses against the blood vessel walls. It is measured in systolic pressure and diastolic pressure .
Blood pressure rises and falls throughout the day. Normal blood pressure is considered to be below 120/80 mm Hg. In a blood pressure reading, the top number refers to systolic pressure, and the bottom number refers to the diastolic pressure.
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If You Notice A Sudden Decline In Blood Pressure
A single lower-than-normal reading is not cause for alarm, unless you are experiencing any other symptoms or problems. If you experience any dizziness, lightheadedness, nausea or other symptoms, its a good idea to consult with your healthcare provider. To help with your diagnosis, keep a record of your symptoms and activities at the time they occurred.
Is low blood pressure related to low heart rate? Find out.
Written by American Heart Association editorial staff and reviewed by science and medicine advisers. See our editorial policies and staff.
Last Reviewed: Oct 31, 2016
Monitoring And Controlling Blood Pressure
Baroreceptors are specialized cells located within arteries that act as blood pressure sensors. Those in the large arteries of the neck and chest are particularly important. When baroreceptors detect a change in blood pressure, they trigger the body to react to maintain a steady blood pressure. Nerves carry signals from these sensors and the brain to
The heart, which is signaled to change the rate and force of heartbeats . This change is one of the first, and it corrects low blood pressure quickly.
The arterioles, which are signaled to constrict or dilate .
The veins, which are signaled to constrict or dilate .
The kidneys, which are signaled to change the amount of fluid excreted and to change the amount of hormones that they produce . This change takes a long time to produce results and thus is the slowest mechanism for how the body controls blood pressure.
Nonetheless, the ways that the body can monitor and control blood pressure have limitations. For example, if a person loses a lot of blood quickly, the body cannot compensate quickly enough, blood pressure falls, and organs may begin to malfunction .
In addition, as people age, the body responds to changes in blood pressure more slowly.
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Baroreceptor Signals Sent To The Arteries
Baroreceptors communicate directly with arteries when blood pressure is too high or too low to bring it into a more appropriate level. Baroreceptors tell arteries to constrict when blood pressure is too low to help raise blood pressure. Baroreceptors tell arteries to relax when blood pressure is too high to help lower blood pressure.
Treatment For Low Blood Pressure
Your GP will go through some simple things you can do to help yourself see the section on self-help above for more information. They may also suggest you increase the salt in your diet. Don’t do this unless your doctor suggests it, as it may affect other health conditions you have.
Your GP may also suggest you wear compression stockings if you have postural hypotension . These can help stop blood from pooling in your legs.
Early Low Blood Pressure Symptoms
Official data from the National Institutes of Health indicates that hypotension is typically considered related to another health issue. For instance, the most common indicators of low blood pressure are dizziness and lightheadedness. However, severe fatigue with no explanation, blurred vision, extreme weakness and fatigue, general confusion, and nausea can also occur.
Doctors characterize orthostatic hypotension as low blood pressure that occurs when going from seated or lying down to standing. OH causes the blood pressure to drop suddenly, which may cause fainting, or syncope. Neurally mediated hypotension can cause a drop in blood pressure due to prolonged periods of standing or in response to emotional trauma. In both cases, blood pressure usually normalizes within a few minutes.
When Is Blood Pressure Considered Low
Blood pressure refers to the force of blood on the artery walls as the heart pumps blood. Blood pressure readings vary from patient to patient. For instance, low blood pressure in athletes or those who regularly exercise can be an indication of prime health.
The Mayo Clinic stipulates that hypotension exists when blood pressure reads 90 mm Hg or less in systolic blood pressure and 60 mm Hg or less diastolic blood pressure . In other words, less than 90 and less than 60 on your blood pressure reading . However, low blood pressure is only concerning if accompanying symptoms exist.
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Frequently Asked Questions About Low Blood Pressure
As long as its not causing any problems, the lower your blood pressure, generally the better. High blood pressure is a risk to your health it can lead to serious conditions such as stroke, coronary heart disease and kidney failure. The lower your blood pressure, the less likely you are to suffer from these problems.
However, if your blood pressure becomes lower than usual for you, it can cause problems. If you have any symptoms like feeling dizzy or faint, you should contact your doctor. See the symptoms sections above for more information.